POULSBO — In keeping with its tradition of evolving to meet the community’s needs, Martha and Mary officials are once again looking at a possible shift.
That change could spell more independent living facilities and a relocation of its headquarters, though no exact location has been made public.
“Right now everything is real preliminary,” said Martha and Mary executive director Denney Austin.
The plans were announced publicly at a meeting with Poulsbo Place II developer David Smith and residents concerned about the changes in the project at the Poulsbo Fire Department on Saturday.
Currently, Martha and Mary is working with New Life Development and Management to explore the possibility of adding new independent living facilities and moving its main offices, Austin said.
“We’re asking how many units would it take to support it, is it financially feasible, how do we make it work,” he said.
The current trend in senior housing is toward independent living facilities, so the organization is looking in that direction for its future, he said.
“We will have to see what the community’s needs are and how this fits in,” Austin said.
Right now, the organization only has 24 independent living units, which opened in 1985, Martha and Mary fund development director Rob Gelder said.
That property abuts Poulsbo Place II, and Martha and Mary has had several conversations with Smith about the development, Gelder said.
Throughout its history, Martha and Mary has evolved to meet the community’s needs as it transitioned from an orphanage to a senior living center, he said.
It was also among the first organizations to provide onsite childcare for its employees, Gelder said. Austin echoed Gelder’s comments about the organization adapting its services to meet the community’s changing needs.
“I think there are some real opportunities for Poulsbo,” Austin said.
Because many seniors are active volunteers in the communities where they live, the city would benefit as a whole by having more senior housing, he said.
By providing independent senior housing, residents would be able to maintain a sense of independence and at the same time their families and loved ones would be reassured knowing that medical services are available if needed, Austin said.
“Many people prefer to live in their own homes, and this would be one way they could do,” he said.
Even though the organization is looking toward its future, no timeline for expansion or relocation has been set, he said.
“We’re always looking toward our future, and this is part of that process,” Austin said.