Donations of millions make new shelter possible in Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — Donations of $2.1 million mean a new house for the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program of Jefferson County.

A new house means shelter and a better safety net for some who have been abused by a partner or family member.

The program, which helps support and shelter victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, received two new grants this week totaling $887,952, said Cheryl Bozarth, executive director the Port Townsend agency.

The grants are from the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development Housing Trust Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program.

The money will be added to donations previously received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private donors.

The donations totaling $2.1 million will be used to build a four-unit home, with space for 16 adults and children who are seeking refuge from violence.

Dove House

The new building, called the Dove House, will serve as transitional housing between the emergency shelter in Port Townsend — which has a 90 day limit for residents — and a more permanent solution in the area.

Dove House will allow those in need to stay for up to two years in a safe, affordable housing complex.

Bozarth said the project addresses the critical shortage of affordable housing in the area, which forces some people leaving the transitional location back into an abusive situation.

“There is a very compelling need for affordable housing in this area,” Bozarth said.

“That made it easier for people to say yes when we asked for donations.

“From the private to state levels, we received money, and it happened extraordinarily quick.”

Bozarth said that, when the group began seeking funding in July 2007, they expected to need up to three years to raise the money for the project.

Instead, it took only 11 months.

On Thursday, Bozarth met with Lindberg and Smith Architects of Port Angeles to discuss the final design of Dove House, which will be located on the corner of Cleveland and 10th streets.

“It’s been a busy week,” Bozarth said.

“This is quite the little home run for us here.”

Help families

The domestic violence/sexual assault agency expects to help six to eight families each year.

It will also house the agency’s offices and services, including individual and group counseling and support, legal advocacy, vocational and educational mentoring and scholarships, budgeting and financial management workshops, case management to help them find permanent housing needs.

“I’m really excited about having child-friendly support space in the new building,” Bozarth said.

“It’s just cool to be able to fulfill this dream in the community.

“Personally, it’s a realization of a vision I have had since I started here in 2005.”

That dream will become reality soon.

Bozarth expects the city permits to be ready by the end of the summer.

Then, construction can begin.

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Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or [email protected]

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