At least 35 volunteers joined forces earlier this month to clean up property surrounding a building on Mile Hill Road in South Kitsap that was purchased by Kitsap County last spring to provide a temporary emergency housing shelter. (Courtesy photo)

At least 35 volunteers joined forces earlier this month to clean up property surrounding a building on Mile Hill Road in South Kitsap that was purchased by Kitsap County last spring to provide a temporary emergency housing shelter. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteers help spruce up new emergency shelter grounds

Community organizations partner to ‘adopt’ the Port Orchard property

PORT ORCHARD — At least 35 volunteers joined forces earlier this month to clean up property surrounding a building on Mile Hill Road in South Kitsap that was purchased by Kitsap County last spring to provide a temporary emergency housing shelter.

Community organizations partnered to “adopt” the property, which formerly housed a health fitness center, and held a work party to start on improvements to the exterior of the building, including clearing out overgrowth from landscaping and the parking areas.

Partner organizations adopting the facility who joined the work party included Project Share, Northwest Hospitality, League of Women Voters Housing Committee and the Port Orchard Homeless Action Team. A number of neighbors of the property and Port Orchard residents also helped out, according to Judy-Rae Karlsen, project coordinator with the Kitsap County Department of Human Services Division of Housing and Homelessness. Volunteers from various county departments also pitched in to help.

Karlsen said volunteers not only improved neglected landscaped areas but optimized security and fire prevention by clearing out overgrown brush, invasive weeds and downed branches, and hauling away other debris from the parking areas and along fences.

“The county purchased this property to provide a temporary housing facility for men, women and children who have no home, said Doug Washburn, director of the county Department of Human Services.

“Thanks to Northwest Hospitality and Project Share for embracing the shelter project and initiating this facility adoption program. They gathered neighbors and friends to revitalize the property and its park-like atmosphere. The facility will be a beautiful place to live.”

County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said she was gratified to see the gathering of volunteers support the project.

“There is an urgent need to get this shelter open to give people currently unhoused a place to live where it’s easier to get them the services and resources they need.”

Future volunteer work parties will take place at the site, officials said. and other individuals and organizations are invited to participate by contacting jrkarlsen@co.kitsap.wa.us. To learn more about the temporary emergency shelter and to find housing resources, visit kcowa.us/skhousing.

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