PORT ANGELES — Pennies for Quarters is moving ahead with plans to build a tiny home village for homeless veterans on land it has secured the land in Port Angeles.
Speaking to a meeting of the Nor’Wester Rotary Club of Port Angeles on Friday morning, founder and president Matthew Rainwater said the organization has submitted plans to Clallam County to start developing the property on West Devanny Lane off Airport Road in Port Angeles.
“We believe we can help end veteran homelessness by providing safe places to make safe choices,” said Rainwater, a U.S. Army veteran. He ran unsuccessfully in the August primary for the state Legislature.
Rainwater said the name Pennies for Quarters is a reference to any amount of donation, even small donations, being helpful to provide housing, which in the military are referred to as living quarters. The organization hopes to construct 24 tiny homes of between 240 and 400 square feet, the larger of which can house a family of four.
The homes will be oriented around a community kitchen and garden as well as areas for exercise.
In addition to housing, Pennies for Quarters also will provide counseling and case management services to help veterans with mental health issues and job training skills if necessary.
Rainwater said he’s been in conversations with Peninsula Behavioral Health regarding counseling services and the organization will hire a professional case manager to help residents.
For veterans struggling with substance abuse, attending 12-step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous will be mandatory, as will a monthly urinalysis test, Rainwater said. Veterans living at the facility also will be required to do volunteer service in the community.
“The tiny house will provide privacy and space while (veterans) work on overcoming issues that led to being homeless,” Rainwater said.
Pennies for Quarters is working with the Composite Recycling Technology Center to build the 24 homes out of that company’s Advanced Cross Laminated Timber, a cross-laminated timber panel reinforced with carbon fiber.
According to CRTC’s website, once a foundation built, the tiny homes can be constructed in as little as three days.
The land was purchased in 2019 but the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in the project, Rainwater said.
The organization hopes to break ground later this year after the county has approved the plans.
“I would like to break ground by the end of this year,” Rainwater said. “It’s going to cost roughly $1 million to get everything going.”
Once the tiny home community is up and running, the organization will determine what annual operating costs are, Rainwater said.
The organization also is looking for additional volunteers to help with fundraising and to serve on its board of directors, including as the group’s president.
Rainwater said for personal reasons he and his family are moving to Tennessee in the summer and that he’s been in conversations with community members about taking over leadership.
“Pennies for Quarters is going to continue moving forward,” Rainwater said.
A fundraising golf tournament is provisionally scheduled for early August. Once the county approves Pennies for Quarters’ plans it will make the organization eligible for grants.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.