Jefferson commissioners to help OlyCAP with Community Development Block Grant

Dale Wilson

Dale Wilson

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners have voted unanimously to again help Olympic Community Action Programs receive and administer a Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Commerce.

The 2018-19 grant available is $103,958, with Jefferson County receiving $3,500 for administration costs. The money is designated for community action in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

According to Executive Director Dale Wilson, 82 percent of funding for Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) comes from state and federal resources. The remainder comes from private donations and a few donation grants. Its annual budget is $7.3 million.

“This grant is important because it is not designated,” Wilson said at Monday’s commissioners meeting. “Other grants are very prescriptive. We treat the CDBG as a global fund. We have a broad brush to do some new things. If we want to work with certain partners to do an initiative or backfill some of the grants that do important work, we are not restricted.”

Wilson said that this is the starting point to submit the annual application for the CDBG. He provided the commissioners with a report that detailed the programs and services OlyCap provided for both Jefferson and Clallam counties last year.

He reported that in October, OlyCAP adopted a new data recording system that makes it much easier to parse out information and provide more accurate reports of those served.

According to the numbers presented, 7,500 individuals in both counties were OlyCAP clients. Of those, 42 percent were from Jefferson County.

Wilson said that single people make up 59 percent of those served. There are sightly more females than males, and 93 percent are white. They have a household income that is 50 percent of area median income. For a family of two, that’s $25,000, with 31 percent of those having social security as a main source of income.

“We are privileged to provide the early childhood services Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Childhood Education and Assistance program [ECEAP] to 505 children,” Wilson said.

“Classrooms are located in Grant Street Elementary Port Townsend and in the Chimacum Elementary School. We’re hoping that we can bring those services to Quilcene and Brinnon.”

Emergency Services includes rental assistance, which is money that goes directly to a landlord to pay the rent. Housing support pays for a deposit or a background check.

Wilson said that OlyCAP was the first agency on the Peninsula to offer in-home care and they continue to offer that service.

Wilson said 33,558 meals were home delivered and served as part of the Senior Nutrition program.

“We take a hard look at our nutrition programs and how they are operating,” he said. “We need to modernize and update them. We’re talking to private vendors, restaurants, cafeterias and hospitals on how we can give people options.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) served about 1,500 last year.

“Jefferson County Public Utilities District [PUD] wants to expand [its] low income program and we just need to get those who are eligible signed up. Everyone who is on LIHEAP now is automatically eligible for PUD assistance,” Wilson said.

“The quietest OlyCAP program is our retired senior volunteer program,” he added. “A whole cadre of folks put in about 60,000 hours of volunteer time at the Food Bank, Marine Science Center and more.”

Commissioner David Sullivan represents Jefferson County on the OlyCAP board and was complimentary to Wilson and his staff for all of the good work they do.

“We made a profit the last few years, if you want to say that. It’s a nonprofit, but it’s good to be in the black.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com.

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