Clallam nonprofits ‘doing more with less’ during pandemic

Survey shows fewer staff members, unprecedented needs

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County’s nonprofit sector is doing more with less to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three commissioners heard Monday.

Commissioners received a summary of a needs assessment conducted by the Clallam County Washington State University Extension Office, which surveyed 57 nonprofit organizations from throughout the county.

“We had really, really good participation from the nonprofit community from all corners of the Peninsula,” Board Chairman Mark Ozias said.

The survey found most nonprofits applied for or received financial assistance for pandemic-related losses. Twenty-two percent of the respondents had cut staff.

“In summary, the nonprofit sector is doing more with less,” Olympic View Community Foundation Program Director Sheila Everett said in a narrative to the assessment.

“It has lost income, staff and volunteers while trying to meet unprecedented needs in our communities.”

Clea Rome, the county’s WSU Extension director, said her office used a sophisticated online survey to glean data from nonprofits.

“It’s kind of like SurveyMonkey on steroids,” Rome told commissioners Monday.

The survey information will be shared with funding organizations in the nonprofit community, Rome said.

“It’s really a good window into what our nonprofit community and our nonprofit partners are dealing with,” Ozias said.

Clallam County received $4.18 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for needs related to COVID-19.

Most of that federal funding has been allocated for six priority areas — public health, business support, rental and utility assistance, support for the homeless population, child care and food security.

Clallam County also has provided a combined $294,629 in lodging tax grants to 17 tourism-based nonprofits through its Keeping the Lights On program.

Commissioner Randy Johnson, who serves on several nonprofit boards, said there was “nothing surprising” about the needs assessment.

“I think the biggest issue for me (is) I still can’t tell what’s dropping through the cracks,” Johnson said.

Individual responses from the survey were kept confidential, but the raw data will be available to commissioners, Rome said.

“Some philanthropic institutions have helped fund (nonprofits), but I just don’t know if we have a hole someplace,” Johnson said. “I’m sure we do.”

Ozias offered to cull the raw data and try to “put a little bit of shape around who might be falling through the cracks.”

Commissioner Bill Peach said it would help to know which nonprofits were facing staff cuts.

“That comment will help me organize what do the cracks look like and who is falling though them,” Ozias said.

“That’s a bit of follow-up that I’m going to try and put together for our next touch on this.”

In other pandemic-related discussion Monday, commissioners vetted a proposed agreement with Norpoint Tactical to continue to provide security at the COVID-19 Social Distancing Center in west Port Angeles.

No commissioner objected to a $53,912 personal services agreement for security at the temporary shelter in the Port of Port Angeles-owned 1010 building through Oct. 31.

Commissioners will consider the agreement next Tuesday.

According to the proposal, a security officer will staff the shelter 12 hours per day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Port Angeles security company also will provided nightly patrols and respond to incidents as they arise.

Clallam County’s previous agreement with Norpoint Tactical provided 24-hour on-site security. That agreement expired July 31.

“The port has agreed to reduce that security presence so it’s 12 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Kevin LoPiccolo, assistant director of Clallam County Health and Human Services.

LoPiccolo estimated the new security contract would represent a 40- to 45-percent savings for the county.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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