Poulsbo Coffee Oasis may open by fall

POULSBO — Coffee Oasis supporters hope that by September, the youth center catering to homeless and at-risk youth will be open for business.

Volunteers and staff members of Hope in Christ Ministries, the nonprofit that opened the first Coffee Oasis in Bremerton, broke ground June 23 at its new site, 780 NE Iverson St. at the corner of 8th Avenue.

“It’s hard to say, it’s all [been done with] generous volunteer support, but I’m hoping maybe sometime in September we’ll be open,” said Dave Frederick, founder of the ministry and Coffee Oasis.

The new center will open with a “fully functional coffee house” and youth services. While the enterprise is not an overnight shelter, like the one being built in Bremerton, it will be a drop-in center that offers emergency resources, school outreach, mentoring, case management, living skills  training and street outreach. The coffee shop will provide job training.

The Poulsbo City Council approved the ministries’s lease of the former Public Works building in March. The three-year lease was approved at $400 a month, escalating to $425 by year three, and not to exceed $700 per month. The estimated fair-market value is between $1,100 and $1,500 a month, and the city’s subsidy will come from the General Fund.

“It’s a valuable organization in our community. It’s going to help our kids,” Mayor Becky Erickson said at the time.

Many organizations that work with teens in the county say Kitsap does have a homeless youth problem.

“The idea is to draw them into a place where they have a positive environment and they can learn about setting goals and making some good choices,” Robyn Chastain, former director of communications for the North Kitsap School District, said in a previous interview. She said around 93 students have been identified as homeless.

The Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap got the ball rolling when it donated $19,600 to the organization last year. Since then, Frederick said they have received $61,200 in money or “in-kind equipment donations.” By Frederick’s estimation, $30,000 needed to open by September.

“There’s just been a plethora of support” from other organizations, he said, including Poulsbo Kiwanis, Bainbridge Island Rotary, and Grace Church on Bainbridge Island. Music festivals later this summer have pledged some of their proceeds.

“The community support has been very encouraging,” Frederick said.

Coffee Oasis-Poulsbo is remodeling the space next to Sound Works Job Center. Director Bob Middlebrook said Sound Works has an agreement with the city to provide social services, and is the only social service and employment center in the north end of the county.

Erickson said the city is working to find another space for Sound Works but is not kicking Middlebrook out. The lease agreement with Hope in Christ Ministries stipulates Sound Works will stay in its current location until another suitable location can be found.

“In this economic climate, we need as much support as possible,” Erickson said.

Coffee Oasis-Poulsbo is looking for volunteers to assist the youth when the center opens, and staff positions are available. Volunteer training will be held July 28, 9 a.m. to noon,  at Poulsbo City Hall. Contact Jim or Justin Ingalls of Kitsap Trident Homes, (360) 697-2772, for information on how to volunteer.

Correction: The city's subsidy of Coffee Oasis-Poulsbo's rent will come from General Funds, not enterprise funds.

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