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Another transitional home proposed in Poulsbo; for families facing homelessness

POULSBO — A 90-day transitional home for families facing homelessness is proposed in the 18000 block of 9th Avenue NE in Poulsbo.

The owner is making the home available through St. Olaf’s Church and One Church One Family, a network of Kitsap churches. Kitsap Community Resources will do the placement and case management.

Kitsap Community Resources does the placement and case management for another transitional home in Poulsbo — a house at 4th and Viewmont, owned by the First Lutheran Church of Poulsbo.

The 4th and Viewmont house was the subject of neighborhood protests in August, when two men living in the house were arrested on suspicion of burglarizing a home around the block and The Loft Restaurant on Poulsbo’s waterfront. Drug paraphernalia and items stolen from The Loft and neighboring home were found in the house.

Transitional homes are for families only, and applicants must submit to background checks and drug tests. Kitsap Community Resources officials said background checks on the applicants for the 4th and Viewmont house turned up nothing, but a Herald check of the Washington Courts online database revealed that one of the occupants had been a defendant in 14 cases in seven different courts in Washington state. In addition, one of the suspects was living in the house but was not related to the applicants.

Mayor Becky Erickson and representatives of Kitsap Community Resources and the First Lutheran Church met with neighbors Oct. 2 to hear their concerns. The house had been cleaned up and was open to the public.

Erickson, a member of the Kitsap Community Resources board of directors, said she asked the agency to “jump” its application screening criteria and improve its monitoring. She said the transitional homes are “for families with children from this area, from the North End.”

The August arrests are believed to be the first incident associated with the 4th and Viewmont house, and Erickson believes screening and monitoring have been improved. But Scott Cooper, a neighbor of the 9th Avenue house, doesn’t want to take any chances.

Cooper said he opposes the establishment of a transitional house in his neighborhood because of the incident at 4th and Viewmont. “Our neighborhood has concerns and will be opposing the (transitional home) in our neighborhood,” he wrote in an email.

Kitsap Community Resources and St. Olaf’s Church has scheduled a neighborhood meeting at the home on Dec. 11, from 2-5 p.m. Mayor Erickson said she plans on attending the meeting.

One Church One Family has two programs to meet the housing needs of local families in crisis. In the Adopt A Home program, a church adopts a home and is responsible for furnishing it, and Kitsap Community Resources is responsible for screening and placing the family and maintaining the structure.  Each family has a case worker that helps the family set goals and navigate the social services system. Kitsap Community Resources pays for the rent and all utilities.

One Church One Family also makes RVs available as temporary housing.

In the past four years, One Church One Family has met the needs of more than 65 families, with 69 percent of families moving on to permanent housing, according to its website. “Every family is prayed for and prayed with,” the website states. “This year (we’re) on track to help over 80 families.”

 

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