Matthew Rainwater, founder and president of Pennies for Quarters, stands at the future site of a tiny home community for homeless veterans. The nonprofit has purchased the Devanny Lane site near Port Angeles. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

Matthew Rainwater, founder and president of Pennies for Quarters, stands at the future site of a tiny home community for homeless veterans. The nonprofit has purchased the Devanny Lane site near Port Angeles. (Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News)

Pennies for Quarters buys land for tiny houses

7.5 acres west of Port Angeles meant to benefit Clallam, Jefferson veterans

PORT ANGELES — Pennies for Quarters has secured a home for its tiny houses for veterans.

Matthew Rainwater, founder and president of the Port Angeles nonprofit, announced that Pennies for Quarters has purchased nearly 7.5 acres of land at the end of Devanny Lane just west of Port Angeles.

The lightly wooded site off Airport Road will house up to 28 small homes for homeless veterans from Clallam and Jefferson counties and their families.

“Now we actually have a site and we can do a specific site plan for our property,” said Rainwater, an Army veteran and U.S. Border Patrol agent.

“It feels good saying that: Our property.”

Pennies for Quarters had considered several other sites for its 240- to 400-square-foot tiny houses in and around Port Angeles since it became a 501(c)(3) in 2016.

Potential land purchases on West Lauridsen Boulevard, Butler Street and Fey Road each fell through for different reasons.

“It’s been an up and down process,” Rainwater said.

“It’s given us time to meet people, make connections and develop relationships and gain a knowledge of everything we want to do.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise,” he added. “Everything happens for a reason.”

Rainwater would not disclose the sale price of the Devanny Lane property. The sale was recorded Friday, he said.

Next steps for Pennies for Quarters include submitting a planned unit development to the Clallam County Department of Community Development (DCD) and continued fundraising.

“This is where the work really starts,” Rainwater said.

“It’s going to be a Herculean effort, but we’re really fortunate that we’ve got partners and we’ve got relationships and we’ve got people that are willing to pull up alongside us and help out.”

About 60 people have offered to help build the tiny house community once the permits are signed and enough money has been raised, Rainwater said.

He added that he would be “ecstatic” if the central facility and first homes were completed by the spring of 2020.

Pennies for Quarters consulted with Zach Slota of Go United Engineering and DCD representatives as part of a feasibility study for the Devanny Lane site.

The tiny houses will be built in clusters around a central facility that will include a cafeteria, laundromat, worship center and meetings room for counseling, therapy sessions, job training and other meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Homeless veterans will be allowed to live in the homes for up to two years to get their lives in order.

Background checks will be conducted on prospective residents, and participants will sign a code of conduct that will include no alcohol or drugs on the premises.

“One of the key things is we want this to be a safe community for everybody around, including the members of the community,” Rainwater said.

Single homeless veterans will occupy the 240-square-foot tiny houses. Families of four will live in the larger, 400-square-foot homes.

“Those ratios we haven’t quite decided on yet, but there will be a mix,” said Debbie Swanson, vice president of the Pennies for Quarters board.

Swanson said the nonprofit looked at other parcels further out in the unincorporated county and determined that a well would not be suitable for the community.

The Dry Creek Water Association will provide water to the Devanny Lane project, Swanson said.

“This process has taken longer than we initially thought it would,” Rainwater said.

“We’ve had people that have been there supporting us from the start. If it were not for people like that, this would have been a much harder process, and we are just so grateful for their patience and their loyalty and pulling up alongside us and helping us with our vision.”

For information on Pennies for Quarters, visit www.penniesforquarters.org.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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