By Cheri Tinker,
North Olympic Regional Veteran’s Housing Network opened a homeless Veterans shelter in 2011 in Forks, Washington called “Sarge’s Place”. Since that time, our non-profit has opened up two permanent supportive housing projects in Forks and Port Angeles … but they are not enough.
We are seeing an incredible uptick in Veterans referred to us that have chronic heart conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung/prostate/rectal cancers, and diabetes. Eighty percent of those with these chronic conditions are Vietnam Vets with agent orange exposure from their combat service. This is absolutely horrifying to our Board. No one, who has served for the United States government, who suffers from chronic, life-changing, debilitating conditions … should be homeless.
Our goal is always to move our Veterans into low-income housing with the local Housing Authority, but we are well aware that many of these Vets will miss their doctors’ appointments (due to lack of transportation), may forget to reorder their meds, or could get so sick from pneumonia that they could actually die.
We know that these Veterans will need more ongoing support, and they do not yet qualify for assisted care or skilled nursing facilities….they need to live in low-income housing where they will have a resident House Manager, a therapist and case manager who checks on them daily and the ability for community caregivers to come in and assist them with their daily living chores. That is what Hobucket House will provide for 7 Veterans.
Timberland Homes in Auburn, Washington will construct this building on the property which we already own in Forks. This 3,200-square-foot home will feature 7 bedrooms for homeless Veterans (two of which will be fully ADA compliant, with all others being ADA accessible), communal dining/living room, computer lab/library, four bathrooms, laundry room and outside deck.
We have already secured $22,000 from the Clallam County Homelessness Grant and we have $25,000 in hand, plus the $40,000 in land which is already secured. We have applied for a State of Washington Department of Commerce Housing Trust Fund Stage 1 application and we will be applying for the Stage 2 application which will be due shortly. With a price tag of approximately $600,000, we are hopeful for the remainder of the funding to be secured through this Trust Fund grant process. Timberland has performed a site visit and they are currently in the design phase for our architectural plans.
Once built, the Veterans’ rental amounts will be 30 percent of their income (typically $200-400) a month and this will cover the costs of the repairs of the house, the electricity/water/power/garbage/sewer and Case Management and Social Worker therapeutic care attached to Hobucket House.
Hobucket House will be named after Jimmy Hobucket, a founding member of our non-profit, who was a Quileute Native who served honorably in the Vietnam War.
He worked as a drug and alcohol counselor on the West End of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and served as a Service Officer for years, aiding many Veterans to file claims with the VA.
He also volunteered for many years as a driver for Veterans, taking them to medical appointments in the Seattle area, 8 hours round trip from his home. He was a member of the Forks Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Quileute Warriors. He also participated in the “Paddle to Seattle” and paddled with other ocean-going societies. He was a proud Veteran and we miss his laugh and smile immensely. Jimmy’s family is honored that Hobucket House will be built in Jimmy’s honor.
NORVHN currently has a GoFundMe account for Hobucket House and donations can be made directly to NORVHN in Jimmy’s honor for this project. All funds raised will help to bolster our chances of securing the Department of Commerce Housing Trust Fund dollars. We are hopeful to break ground in June 2020.