In about 2009 Cheri Tinker was working at West End Outreach where she took part in the ‘Point in Time’ homeless count. When the count was over she was appalled to see that there were 77 homeless veterans in Clallam County. “I was bothered, I was sickened,” Tinker said as she spoke last Wednesday at the Forks Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Her boss at the time was the late Beth Palmer. Palmer told her if she was bothered so much then create something to help the veterans. Tinker took on the task and with the help of Senator Patty Murry money was appropriated and the Peterson Building on Ash Ave. was purchased for $199,900 in October of 2010.
Since the purchase, many upgrades and remodels have taken place and North Olympic Regional Housing Network was formed. NORHN has a board of directors and Jeniffer Pelikan works as the Case Manager with Tinker serving as Director.
Sarge’s Place has a men’s and women’s emergency shelter that can sleep 12 and kitchen facility on the ground floor and three apartments on the second floor.
Tinker said that many of the veterans they see are haunted by their experience. Many of the Vietnam era vets, in addition to having mental problems, also have health problems from Agent Orange exposure.
NORHN has also purchased a building in Port Angeles and 1.3 acres at the intersection of Sol Duc Way and Klahndike. The facility called Camp Sol Duc has a modular home and a garage area that houses Sarge’s Attic.
Sarge’s Attic offers second-hand items, antiques, and collectibles.
Tinker says her goals are grand as she recently competed in Washington Coast Works. While she didn’t win, the process helped develop future plans that include a farm stand, and orchard, a repair shop to repurpose furniture, metal, wood and welding all to facilitate job creation for veterans.
This fall with the help of funding from the Lloyd J. Allen Foundation a large greenhouse was purchased and erected at Camp Sol Duc.
Tinker saw her funding cut this year and has sought other avenues to help fund future plans. “I want to create sustainability and give veterans a purpose and in the process help the community,” Tinker said.
She is currently seeking funding for a new vehicle to use to take Veterans to appointments etc.
“Depressed people get stuck, many have burned all their bridges, and the holidays can be tough,” Tinker added.
What can you do to help? You can shop at Sarge’s Attic this holiday season or anytime, make a donation of cash or items needed such as toilet paper, hats, scarves, coffee, paper towels etc. every little bit helps.