Become A Housing Champion

Become a Housing Champion

Volunteering in a Network

HSN’s work relies heavily on community involvement, however because of our non-hierarchical network structure, engaging through us can look a bit different than other volunteering experiences. Rather than offering pre-determined roles managed by a supervisor, HSN offers an environment where community members can pool their interests, ideas and experience to collectively cultivate solutions aimed at addressing the lack of affordable workforce housing in Jefferson County. This most often takes the form of a Housing Action Team (HAT), which are groups of community members that have come together to work on a particular project or area of interest. These groups are supported by staff, and outline actionable goals that can typically be complete in 3, 6 or 12 months periods, though some actions may be more ongoing or take longer periods of time to execute.

Engaging with HSN is meaningful and fulfilling work; we strive to foster an environment where concerned residents can show up and successfully work towards housing solutions for their community. 

Housing Action Teams (HATs)

Based on community input and active network interests, we create broad focus areas through which to engage. We refer to these focus areas fondly as HATs or Housing Action Teams and they have taken many forms and approaches over the years. (Scroll down further for examples of past HSN HATs and their accomplishments.) 

HATs typically meet monthly and delegate and create subgroups as needed. Meetings are run by an appointed chair, but all members work cooperatively. 

HSN wants to set our HAT members up for success and for this reason all HATs are supported by staff who are available to make connections, provide resources and weave the network together (see staff roles below). HSN has also drawn from our past experience and partnerships to compile a Network Toolkit with resources, guidelines and templates to enable HATs to be productive and self governing.

Other Ways to Engage

Asset mapping
Do you have a specialized skill, personal connection, or access to resources you would be willing to share? HSN is working on mapping these assets in a more formal way and better utilizing them across our network as needed. Examples include legal consult, government lobbying experience, estate planning, video/photography/graphic design skills, grant writing, data collection, research, fundraising connections, educational opportunities, etc. 

Project Tracking
Monitoring and updating the network on meaningful or relvant projects happening in our area. (examples: Habitat for Humanity EJC Mason Street Project, Port Townsend Preservation Alliance)

Solo Projects
Sometimes we have the need for individual projects. These include things like reporting on city and county meetings and research projects. 

Role of Staff

In addition to our engaged community members, HSN is supported by a very small staff (1 full-time, 2 part-time) who’s role are to connect, synthesize, advocate, and support ideas and projects across the spectrum of our network. If it sounds like a lot, it is. That’s why our Network Housing Champions are so important and appreciated!

Staff are present to support and inform HAT’s and other Housing Champions. We are eager to give feedback on ideas, inform discussions and make introductions, but  typically hold back from taking the lead on projects. 

Questions?

Join the Network Today!

HSN has launched new HATs for 2024, making it an exciting time for new and old people to engage!

Through a community survey and brainstorming session at our Annual Meeting the Network has identified four new areas of focus with lots of exciting possibilities to explore. However the real focus is up to each HAT. That means you! We want to your passion, your excitement, your experience in shaping what future housing looks like in Jefferson County. So sign up today!

Housing Protections HAT

Meeting Time: First Thursday of the Month, 3:00 to 4:30pm | Zoom Link

May focus on concepts like:

  • Deed restrictions
  • Tenant protections
  • Vacancy rates + taxes
  • Short term rental restrictions
  • Social Housing
  • Land Trusts/Housing Trusts
  • Resident Owned Communities
  • Down payment assistance
  • Finding legal expertise to support endeavors
  • Finding solutions to the empty homes
  • Covenant or waivers from government
  • Estate planning and legacy gifts
  • Learning best practices from other communities
  • Data research and Community Needs Assessment

Business Relations HAT

Meeting Time: First Tuesday of the Month, 10:00 to 11:30am | Zoom Link

May focus on concepts like:

  • Working with local employers + employees on housing solutions
  • Housing Needs survey
  • Asset mapping
  • Business profiles on Housing Link
  • Temporary employer housing
  • Creation of down payment assistance programs
  • Identify success stories of businesses + employer housing in other communities
  • Roundtable and inclusion of developers + contractors
  • Lunch + Learns with Employers/ Employees
  • Relationships like: Economic Development Council, Port Townsend Main Street, Chamber of Commerce, Local Investment Opportunity Network, Jefferson Healthcare, etc.
  • Business growth/ expansion/ economic values + focus (less reliance on tourist economy?)

Government Relations HAT

Meeting Time: First Monday of the Month, 10:00 to 11:30am | Zoom Link

May focus on concepts like:

  • Monitoring + support of City of PT Planning Dept/ Council/ Planning Commission
  • Monitoring + support of County Dept. of Community Development/ Planning Commission/ Board of County Commissioners/ Intergovernmental Collaborative Group
  • Monitoring + support of WA State and Federal law/policies/regulations
  • Legislation support and advocacy days in Olympia, DC
  • Growth Management Act + Urban Growth Area rezoning and density policies
  • Empty Home Taxes or Fees
  • Policy changes/advocacy
  • Sanitation policies at state and local levels; sewer + septic
  • Raising awareness of needs
  • Research on grants + funding opportunities
  • Community call to actions/petitions/support

Outreach + Education HAT

Meeting Time: Second Monday of the Month, 9:30 to 11:00am | Zoom Link

May focus on concepts like:

  • Community events
  • Round Table Discussions
  • Communications
  • Informed by other HATs
  • Resource Creation
  • Refine HSN elevator speech
  • Encourage public participation
  • Forums
  • Radio programming
  • Housing Parties
  • School District/Student Engagement
  • Current homeowners + Estate Planning
  • Book clubs/library programs/PTFF
  • Lunch + Learns
  • neighborhood CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) 
  • Publications
  • Speaker’s Panel Discussions
  • Housing “week” or “month”
  • Housing Ambassadors
  • Meeting people where they are at
  • Evolving JC Housing Narrative (ex: not reinforcing detached single family home lifestyle and presenting/challenging definitions of “small town feel” so they are compatible with affordable and accessible housing for workforce)

Former HATs and Accomplishments

Below are some former HSN HATs including examples of approaches and outcomes. Be sure to also view our Five Years of Community Impact.

Housing Connections HAT

Permit HAT

  • Crafted and distributed a Permit Survey (2020) assessing what regulations and barriers, both actual and perceived, were preventing builders and landowners from creating more housing.
  • Drafted a Permit Survey Report based on the collected information and delivered to local governments
  • Crafted a series of Permit Navigator Videos
  • In collaboration with the Housing Connections HAT, working with City and County staff to promote and implement a pre-approved ADU “stock plans” program to facilitate easier building of modest units.

Sanitation HAT

  • In collaboration with PHLUSH, created a 6-part Fall 2022 Sanitation + Housing learning series
  • Assessing policy and public education routes to promote the healthy use of greywater reuse systems and non-water-based toilet technologies to expand the capacity of and create alternatives to on-site septic systems
  • Promoted changes to septic and sewer requirements that would lead to increased housing

Tiny Home Communities HAT

  • Presented a series of webinars on tiny home communities
  • Incubated and supported the Community Build Project and the creation of 12 ‘tiny shelters’ to house un-sheltered seniors.
  • Produced a Policy Paper and Call to Action that presents policy approaches to removing zoning barriers to tiny home communities and other affordable density housing options. 
  • 2023 Port Townsend zoning changes reflected many recommendations presented by this HAT
  • Supported 2022 temporary encampment ordinances with the City and County 
  • Incubated and led to the creation of Tiny Homes Jefferson County (email)

Outreach HAT

  • Informing community about our housing challenges and empowering individuals to see themselves as part of the solution.
  • Produced and screened Cultivating Community Solutions, a short video illuminating the problem and showcasing creative choices individuals are making to increase housing opportunity.
  • Helped organize a presentation on the eviction moratorium, and has engaged the local communities of realtors and faith groups in reflecting on how they might support housing solutions.
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