EDITOR’S NOTE: For 26 years, Peninsula Daily News readers in Jefferson and Clallam counties have supported the “hand up, not a handout” Peninsula Home Fund.
Today, we feature another in a series of articles on how the fund operates and who benefits from our readers’ generosity.
To donate online by credit card, click on https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/homefund. Or you can print out a donation coupon at the site and mail it.
PORT ANGELES — Relationships often change when a baby comes along.
It was such a change in her home dynamics that forced Ashley Standard to look for an apartment for herself and her daughter, Zoey, then 6 months.
In her anxious hunt, daughter in tow, she contacted the Housing Resource Centers of Clallam County to get on its list for low-income housing.
But when an apartment became available, she lacked enough money to pay the necessary utility deposit.
The difference wasn’t much, but for her, it was like looking into a financial Grand Canyon. She didn’t have the money.
She didn’t know where to turn next until one of the staffers at the center suggested she check if OlyCAP could help.
OlyCAP — nonprofit Olympic Community Action Programs — is the No. 1 emergency-care agency on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Among its many services and responsibilities, OlyCAP manages the Peninsula Home Fund for the Peninsula Daily News’ Peninsula Home Fund, screens the applicants in Clallam and Jefferson counties, carefully disburses the funds and provides life-changing counseling and services to those who need a “hand up, not a handout.”
For 26 years, the locally focused Home Fund has demonstrated how even a seemingly modest sum of money can temporarily relieve or vastly improve the lives of our neighbors and get them through a seemingly insurmountable crisis or setback that is playing out behind closed doors and a few streets away.
Even though the dollar figures are small, the impact can be big, in huge, life-changing ways.
Ashley’s counselor was able to tap the Home Fund to close the gap on the $400 city utility deposit.
“I’m very grateful there was a program that could help me,” she says of the Home Fund.
And what a relief, she adds, “to know help is there when you need it.”
In addition to meeting the utility deposit, her Home Fund counselor “then hooked me up with LIHEAP, which is a huge help [to heat the new apartment],” she says.
LIHEAP is the federally assisted Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Growing up in Port Angeles, Ashley was mostly home-schooled.
She was born with a congenital malformation in her spine and gets SSI disability benefits because the defect prevents her from working full time.
To make ends meet, she earns money caring for the children of family and friends.
With Christmas around the corner, Ashley is looking ahead to opening a new chapter for herself and Zoey.
The new apartment has given her and her daughter the chance to stabilize their lives.
Their world is “awesome,” she says.
Peninsula’s safety net
Between now and New Year’s Eve, the Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for North Olympic Peninsula residents when there is nowhere else to turn — is seeking contributions for our annual holiday season fundraising campaign.
From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and LaPush, the Home Fund is a “hand up, not a handout” for children, teens, families and the elderly to get through an emergency situation.
Money from the Home Fund is used for hot meals for seniors in Jefferson and Clallam counties; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.
As of last week, the Home Fund had helped 3,766 individuals (1,213 families) in Jefferson and Clallam counties this year.
No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.
Every penny goes to OlyCAP.
Assistance is also limited to one time in a 12-month period.
The average amount of help is usually below $100; this year, it has been $69.16 per person.
All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.
As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.
The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”
All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.
(See accompanying box)
Your personal information is kept confidential.
The PDN does not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.
Out of money Dec. 31
Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has relied on the support of Clallam and Jefferson residents.
Individuals, couples, businesses, churches, organizations and school groups set a new record for contributions in 2013 — $268,389 — smashing the old record of $268,137 set Dec. 31, 2012.
As of last week, $257,507 had been spent for Home Fund grants.
And as we move into winter, the toughest period of the year, all of the remaining money — $10,882 — is expected to be spent before Dec. 31.
How to apply
To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:
■ Its Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726. For Port Angeles- and Sequim-area residents.
■ Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.
■ The Forks office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193. For West End residents.
Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.
OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the fund, phone John Brewer, PDN publisher and editor, at 360-417-3500.
Or email email@example.com.