Jefferson County approves $408K in affordable housing funding

Five proposals get green light from commissioners

PORT TOWNSEND — The Board of Jefferson County Commissioners unanimously approved $408,691 in grant funds for five affordable and/or homeless housing proposals for 2021.

The funds come from the projected revenues of the county’s Affordable Housing Tax Fund 148 and Homeless Housing Tax Fund 149, with $3,691 coming from the current fund balance.

The commissioners approved the funding during their Monday morning session.

There were six proposals submitted following specifications issued in August, and five of them were either fully funded or partially funded.

The proposals were evaluated by a sub-committee of the Homeless Housing Task Force, which presented its recommendations to the rest of the task force,

The process then went to the Joint Oversight Board (JOB), which made the final recommendations and presented them to the commissioners on Monday.

Dove House requested and was fully funded for $73,691 to provide emergency temporary shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

Habitat for Humanity requested $40,000 and was partially funded for $20,000 to repair four homes for homeowners who make 30 percent or less of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Bayside Housing and Services requested $75,000 and was fully funded to provide rental subsidy (the difference between the lease rate and 30 percent of the resident’s income).

Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) was approved for full funding for two proposals.

The first request was for $40,000 for the Haines Street Cottages housing. The second request was for $200,000 for the emergency shelter.

A sixth proposal made by Bayside Housing for $100,000 was made to assist with the rehabilitation of the Cherry Street building, which Bayside recently obtained from Homeward Bound.

Homeless Housing Task Force member Peggy Webster said the Cherry Street project was denied funding for this round because Bayside didn’t have the necessary budget planning it needed and that its initial plan of rent costs was higher than the AMI needed to qualify for the project as affordable housing.

It was also due to financial constraints of this round of funding, Webster said.

“[Bayside] did understand that they were asking for money on a moving target,” said Lizanne Coker, task force facilitator. “It was kind of doomed to fail. It is possible for the project to be opened again.”

Bayside does have an opportunity to potentially reapply, as the JOB left funds available for one-time distribution that may include another process next year, Coker said.

“It’s a project that is still maturing, and we’re hopeful that it will continue to move forward and be successful,” said Philip Morley, county administrator.

The funds that were allocated were divided between Fund 148 and Fund 149, with $115,000 allocated from Fund 148’s revenues and $290,000 allocated from Fund 149’s revenues, with an additional $3,691 allocated from Fund 149’s current balance, commission documents stated.

The grant period is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, and the process was opened early this year so the recipients could more easily plan their 2021 budgets in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Coker said.

The full commissioners meeting and discussion can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-BOCChousinggrants.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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