Reorganized Port Townsend housing group hopes for local impact

GARDINER — With the election of 12 new board members Homeward Bound, previously known as the Olympic Housing Trust, is hoping to kick-start the organization which a new board member said hasn’t done much since it was founded.

“There were 12 slots and 12 people so it was a pretty easy election,” said Christine Jacobsen, one of the newly elected board members.

The election was Wednesday night for the reorganized board which new board members said had dwindled to one member.

The group was formed to help create permanently affordable housing in Jefferson and Clallam counties and had projects in Port Angeles.

Apartment project

Recently, it worked with the city of Port Townsend on an apartment building project on Cherry Street. The city also granted it $30,000.

Jacobsen said the goal now is to make Homeward Bound an organization that makes an impact in the local community.

“It’s been around for a while but it just hasn’t been doing much,” Jacobsen said. “The goal now is to get it moving and going.”

Jacobsen said she joined the board since she is one of the many people in Jefferson County with a college education and working fulltime who still can’t find affordable housing.

“Homeward Bound has a chance to help people like me,” Jacobsen said in her nomination.

Joining Jacobsen on the board is Monica Bell who is the co-founder of Jefferson County Solutions and County Commissioner Kate Dean, who has regularly spoken in favor of creative solutions to tackle the area’s lack of affordable housing in her capacity as a commissioner and as a community member.

Also on the board is Mark Cooper, former Housing and Urban Development employee Catherine Herrick, potential Homeward Bound home owner Regan Harrison, 40-year Jefferson County resident Serenity Lumbard and Krista Paradise, who said in her nomination that as a low-income resident makes her very familiar with the areas lack of affordable housing.

Architect Kristina Hestenes Stimson also joins the board along with affordable housing activist Matthew Woodward, Port Angeles resident and single mom Vanessa Indilcato, and David Whipple, a founding board member for Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Jacobsen said. “I think everyone is excited to get something going. We all know someone who can’t afford housing here and that’s a bummer.”

Wednesday’s meeting was the annual meeting of Homeward Bound at the Gardiner Community Center. Aside from the election, members also discussed the group’s current financial situation — specifically regarding the Cherry Street project.

The project elicited complaints from members of the Jefferson County GOP since it has been standing on wooden pillars without a foundation since the apartment complex was barged in from Canada in early May.

“The numbers look pretty okay,” Jacobsen said. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room but it’s not to the point of not going through with the project.”

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected]

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