Most of the homeless prevention and rehousing programs are administered by the Kitsap County Community Resources’ Homeless Child and Family Services agency. The government organization works with partners, both non-profit and federal agencies such as HUD, to stop as well as reverse homelessness in the region.
The programs focus on multiple scenarios. There is help for people threatened with an eviction or foreclosure. There is also assistance for the currently homeless, and this is where rapid rehousing can be used. The solutions range from applications to federal government grants for paying rent or energy bills to emergency shelter, veteran programs including SSVF, and free foreclosure counseling. Other aid may be offered too.
Child and Family Services focuses on assisting families with children. There is homeless prevention for two parent households as well as single moms or dads. The county wants every child to have a stable, safe living environment. The goal is to stabilize the child's living situation, whether it is in an apartment or free-standing home.
The team at the Housing Solutions Center (HSC) can direct families to grant programs, such as Section 8 or ESG. These can cover some of the critical housing expenses. For example, if someone is behind on their rent and in arrears on their bills, some funds may help there. Or there may be grants available for paying utility bills as part of Energy Assistance, which opens up in October. Or if rehousing is needed, HSC can help pay a security deposit.
One “non-crisis” program in Kitsap County is weatherization. While this will not stop an eviction or foreclosure, it will help the client save money by reducing their energy burden in the future. Child and Family Services can direct the client to sign up for free weatherization services as well.
The currently homeless can get help too. There are emergency shelters in Kitsap County. These are often located at local charities, churches, and non-profits such as the Salvation Army. They often partner with the Community Resources’ Homeless Child and Family Services department. Another option is the Safe Park service, which is when a homeless or transitory person can use a safe parking lot for free, for overnight stays.
Transitional Housing is another option. When someone moves from a shelter, they are often placed into this short term housing program. It not only puts a roof over their head but it also gives them the support services they need to stop a cycle of evictions and/or foreclosure.
HSC will assign a social worker to work with the person in transitional housing. They will help them find a job, show them how to save money, and improve their life skills. All of these tools can be used by the parent so that they can better provide for their children in the future.
While homes with children are generally a focus, others can apply for assistance as well. There is a Veterans Housing Options Group which is for former military members. The county will give them housing assistance that both will stop future evictions and/or rehouses the client if needed. The address for this agency is 1201 Park Street, Bremerton Washington, and any veteran can even walk-in.
Another option is HEN, and this is administered by Catholic Community Services. This homeless prevention program has a financial component (for rent, utilities, deposits, or moving costs) to other basic needs as well. Mortgage assistance is generally given in the form of counseling.
As Catholic Communities will also direct the client to furniture programs or help them gain the employment/budgeting skills needed. Most of this aid is for tenants or home owners that are on Medical Care Services, are not benefit from public aid, and have no dependent children, but exceptions can be made. The address and phone number for HEN is 1003 5th St. Bremerton, WA, 98337, call (360) 373 – 0638.
While there are many different assistance programs available in Kitsap County, the main referral number is (360) 377-005.