PORT TOWNSEND — A joint Port Townsend-Jefferson County committee has taken the first step to finding a facilitator for planning and funding homeless housing and affordable housing programs.
The Joint Oversight Board on Affordable Housing & Homeless Housing agreed to a request for proposals (RFP) on Tuesday.
Members also approved a volunteer recruitment form and notice that seeks interested people for appointment to the local Homeless Housing Task Force.
The RFP Facilitation and Support Proposal deadline is April 5, with work beginning on May 1.
Five copies of the proposal can be either hand-delivered or sent by mail to Jefferson County Administrator’s Office, 1820 Jefferson St., P.O. Box 1220, Port Townsend, WA 98368.
Questions may be addressed to County Administrator Philip Morley at [email protected] or by calling 360-385-9100.
City Council member Michelle Sandoval and County Commissioner David Sullivan on Tuesday finalized document language for the RFP that outlines the project overview and a three-year scope of work services to be performed.
The facilitator will be tasked with four main duties including convening a standing local Homeless Housing Task Force and the 2018 Interlocal Agreement which includes representatives of affordable housing interests.
The facilitator also will assist with recommending three members of the task force for appointment to the Joint Oversight Board. It will review and make updates to the county’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness and turn it into a five-year plan, a document that must be adopted by the county by Dec. 1.
The facilitator will assist the task force in establishing guidelines, if needed, on a variety of shelter and homeless housing needs and operations.
As part of the required services, the facilitator will identify opportunities to maintain and expand the inventory of affordable housing, and identify and pursue grants and other funding opportunities.
The Task Force on Homeless Housing & Affordable Housing Volunteer position will recommend an update to the homeless housing plan among other items.
The application asks potential members such questions as, “What problems or concerns do you see facing the Task Force and how would you propose they be addressed” and “What special skills, knowledge or experience do you have to contribute?”
The Joint Oversight Board is hoping to appoint between 9 and 11 members from all corners of the community, including low-income residents and those who have been or are homeless. This will be a two-year term.
Volunteer applications may be downloaded from www.co.jefferson.wa.us or requested by calling 360-385-9100.
Applications must be received on or before 4:30 p.m. April 5 in the Jefferson County Administrator’s Office.
During public comments, Barbara Morey of Port Townsend said she felt it was important to hold community meetings that could be attended by as many people as possible.
“They would be at a day and time that the people they are trying to target would be able to attend,” Morey said.
“If we want to do something on workforce housing, we could have a big community meeting and invite everyone: agencies, individuals, and those from the working community. But have it on a Saturday when people can attend. Same with homeless meetings. Then hold a summary meeting where we can get ideas. It’s important that we get focused and targeted community input.”
Sandoval agreed with Morey.
“We need to inform and engage the citizenry,” Sandoval said. “So many people didn’t realize that there were homeless children in our community, and when the cold hit it was an informative situation.
”When we got the word out through social media about warm clothes and shoes, it was an overwhelming response in terms of support.
“But, so many of those people said they had no idea of the situation,” Sandoval continued. “I think that before we can move forward in a responsible manner, we need to reach out and make sure people are understanding what the situation is and get them involved in terms of them understanding.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].