Poulsbo, Coffee Oasis team up to provide transitional housing for women

POULSBO — The Coffee Oasis and the City of Poulsbo are entering into an agreement that solves two problems in one.

The Coffee Oasis, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting homeless youth, will lease the city’s Nelson Farmhouse, in Nelson Park, and use it as a transitional home for 18- t0 25-year-old homeless women.

In return, the women staying there will be tasked with taking care of the house and the park. The house was formerly used as a caretaker’s residence.

“Mayor Becky [Erickson] reached out to us with the possibility of using the Nelson Farmhouse for this purpose to see if we were interested,” said Dave Frederick, executive director of The Coffee Oasis. “We met and talked and it seemed like a great win-win for the City of Poulsbo and The Coffee Oasis: the city doing something tangible regarding its homeless, while at the same time, Nelson Park being cared for and young women gaining skills and giving back to the community in the process.”

Final approval for the lease went before the Poulsbo City Council on July 19; the council’s vote wasn’t available at press time, but the lease was expected to be approved. If approved, Frederick said Coffee Oasis expects to open the transitional house in October, though that could change.

“There are some needed improvements that also need to be made to the home before it will be used,” he said. “Through the generosity of the Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island Rotaries, the house is being fully supplied.”

Nelson Park is located on Lindvig Way, across from Fish Park, and is adjacent to the Dogfish Creek estuary. It is linked to Fish Park by a trail that goes under the Lindvig Way bridge. Nelson Park consists of the 1,939-square-foot farmhouse, built in 1900 (according to the county assessor’s online database); the Martinson Cabin, built in 1905 and relocated to that site from its original location on Bond Road; and a playground, picnic area, restrooms, shelter, and wildlife trails.

The residents of the farmhouse will be maintain the house inside and out; maintain the grounds, as well as the trails and paths; clean gutters and drains; wash and cleaning picnic tables and barbecue grills; mow; and pick up litter.

They will also be asked to sign a Partnering Hope Resident Agreement, committing to things like respecting the property and equipment of the City of Poulsbo; respecting the core values of The Coffee Oasis; seriously pursue weekly case management goals as lined out in the Partnering Hope contract; completing assigned chores each week; and more.

Frederick said this transitional house is important “because there are homeless young people who need housing and we are constantly looking for ways to serve those needs. … People genuinely care about other people. It is fun to be a part of the process with so many caring people.”

Frederick said The Coffee Oasis has a transitional house for young men in Bremerton that opened October 2016 with support from East Bremerton Rotary, and plans to open another home for young women escaping human trafficking, in January 2018, in partnership with Shared Hope International. He said they anticipate “beginning to operate host homes for homeless young people by the end of this year.”

“We’re always seeing how we can better meet the needs of young people in our community,” Frederick said.

— Michelle Beahm is the online editor for the Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at mbeahm@soundpublishing.com.