Kitsap Mental Health Services, the Bremerton Housing Authority and the City of Bremerton have teamed up to construct an apartment complex in Bremerton which aims to tackle Kitsap’s rising homeless population.
Pendleton Place, as the project is called, takes its namesake from national housing advocate Lloyd Pendleton, who inspired local housing providers and community members to create housing aimed at providing residences for people in need of staff supported housing. Pendleton recently passed away in early March at the age of 78.
The complex would feature a mix of studio and one-bedroom apartments prioritized for individuals who are residents of Kitsap County and experiencing chronic homelessness, living with severe and persistent mental illness, substance abuse disorders or other disabling conditions.
“There has long been recognized a need for permanent supported housing in our community; especially housing that’s focused on folks that are hardest to serve,” said Monica Bernhard, Community Services and Development Manager at Kitsap Mental Health Services. “They don’t have immediate access to the supportive services they need.”
According to a Kitsap Mental Health Services, the agencies joined forces to plan the apartment complex after repeatedly reviewing the growing figures of vulnerable people without housing.
Many of these individuals are our clients,” Bernhard said. “We served more than 7,000 people last year. We have a vested interest to help people be successful and part of that is stable housing.”
Kurt Wiest is the executive director of the Bremerton Housing Authority. Wiest is one of the project’s proponents.
“Housing affordable to persons with limited financial means is in scarce supply in our community,” he said. “Among all the pressing needs, however, the highest is permanent shelter for those who are chronically homeless. Breaking the cycle of homelessness and addressing head-on the root causes – untreated mental illness and substance abuse disorders — is of paramount importance.”
The apartment complex will be fully staffed around the clock, 365 days a year by Kitsap Mental Health Services, who will own and operate the building. Residents will have access to services provided by KMHS and community partners that provide mental health and substance use treatment services, primary care services, employment search services and life skills training such as housekeeping, laundry and shopping. Potential residents will meet income qualification criteria and will be assessed for their need for supported housing.
“We are trying to look at it from all lenses so they can lead healthy and independent lives,” Bernhard said. Many individuals, once they’re stable, are going to want to reconnect with the community. People who are chronically homeless are outside the circle of community and we want to bring them back in.”
In what is sometimes a vicious circle, securing affordable housing is difficult for those with behavioral health challenges and a lack of housing directly impacts their ability to successfully engage in treatment services.
In late March, the Bremerton Housing Authority authorized a major investment in Pendleton Place, providing initial financing to pave the way for other major funding applications.
“The Bremerton Housing Authority is committed to using our financial resources, $3.1 million dollars, in a purposeful way and with a valued community partner, Kitsap Mental Health Services,” Wiest said. “We are excited to put into reality plans to make real change in the lives of homeless individuals in our community.”
Total development costs are estimated at $18.3 million but will be updated as final designs are approved.
Additional funding is anticipated to come from the Federal Home Loan Bank, the Housing Trust Fund, Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as private foundation and grant requests. Ongoing operations funding will come substantially from subsidized and tenant rent payments.
The facility will be located on a 1.66 acre site at 5454 Kitsap Way, a location the City of Bremerton has designated for development of affordable housing. Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler strongly supported the project.
“Providing affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents is a high priority for our city,” Wheeler said in a press release. “We are enormously appreciative of the partnership we have with BHA and KMHS to bring us this much needed housing to our community. This is a major undertaking, and it will take all of us working together to make it happen.”
Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2020, with occupancy targeted for Fall of 2021.
Tyler Shuey is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org