Stories of Impact
Jefferson County is full of stories of struggle as well as stories of hope. Here, you’ll find personal stories of those who have been impacted by our housing crisis, as well as those who are making an impact.
Have your own housing story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute.
I used to live in uptown Port Townsend and enjoy the pleasures of walking to the Farmers Market, patroing coffee shops daily, and running into friends. Even at that time our household of working young people was unique. I rarely saw kids playing in the streets, parents pushing strollers, or teens getting into good trouble.
Home sharing has been a way of life since the late 1980s for a single senior homeowner in the uptown district of Port Townsend. It all started when she offered a free bedroom to a young person working at a local non-profit. After a couple positive experiences, and seeing a need for affordable living spaces for such community members, she has rented space to more people than she can remember.
This year, Washington’s annual Homelessness and Housing Advocacy went from a single day in Olympia to a week-long, online-only meeting of 791 advocates, over a quarter of which had lived experience of homelessness. The week included an intensive introduction to all the housing equity bills in the current legislative session as well as opportunities to connect with other housing advocates in Legislative District 24 (which includes Jefferson County).
In early October I received an email from Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship member, Kathy Stevenson. She was asking if people with building skills would consider joining a group that was working on building Tiny Shelters for unsheltered people in Jefferson County. I had not heard of the Community Build Project but it piqued my interest.
Blessings, dear ones. My name is James Lyman and I am the Pastor of the Evangelical Bible Church, situated on the corner of 22d Street and San Juan Avenue, here in Port Townsend. I was approached by Peter Bonyun and Judith Alexander in early September, just two months ago. They were inquiring about a project
I have been a Port Townsend resident for 27 out of my 30 years. I have been employed in the marine trades by the same business for 9 years.
One landlord reflects on her decision to reduce rent for her tenant due to his loss of income in the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have lived in Port Townsend for fifteen years; it’s my home. I’ve seen the housing issue from a few different angles over those years, but right now I feel it because I am worried I will not be able to stay here. When I first moved to Port Townsend I lived in one of
Housing Advocacy Day is an annual day when housing advocates from around the state descend upon Olympia to meet with their elected representatives to advocate for bills and policies that will support housing for all. The day also provides an opportunity to put our local housing crisis in the state-wide context, and creates a space
Fort Worden is a centerpiece of our community, and a place we all love for the natural beauty and hiking trails, the community events, and the many beloved organizations housed there. Yet behind all that activity is a workforce where many are struggling to put down roots and find a place to live. The park
The Community Land Trust Association of Marin (CLAM) has created an innovative housing solution in their Real Community Rentals program, which works with local homeowners to help create rental units – often from a spare bedroom – on their property. The County of Marin and the Marin Housing Authority work with CLAM to offer incentives
Recently I was talking to a friend who works at Dove House about their recruiting. She told me that they had found an excellent candidate for a job opening, who unfortunately couldn’t take the position because she could not find housing. For nonprofits and businesses alike, the lack of housing makes providing services and sustaining staff an ongoing challenge.
I moved to Jefferson County with my teenage daughter this past August when I got a job with Jefferson Community Foundation. In the months since moving here, I have experienced both the disheartening struggle of finding a place to rent, as well as the kindness of people who barely know me. I used to own
I moved to Jefferson County in May of 2017 when I accepted the position of Executive Director at the Jefferson Community Foundation. Via Craigslist, I found a cute little house in Port Townsend to rent. To my surprise, the rent was the same amount I had been paying in Seattle. This posed a challenge as
In 2016, we embarked on an incredible journey together of building a tiny house. We had nearly no experience with any of the techniques involved in building a house, but with so many resources out there, we were sure we could pull it off. While we tapped into many different resources, from books to YouTube,
Our first time in Port Townsend was on our honeymoon in 2013. We instantly fell in love with the area, and were finally able to relocate in 2015. Our first rental was a small home in Hamilton Heights for $875/month. Our landlord terminated our lease early to move in his mom, which then led us
The Community Boat Project (CBP) has expanded their efforts and created a new program, Shelter from the Storm. The program provides paid internships to 18-25 year-olds in Jefferson County and teaches job and life skills through building tiny houses. The houses they produce are then offered to members of the community. There are not enough skilled workers in Jefferson County in the
Title: OlyCap project moves forward, 44 units for JeffCo families and individualsAfter nearly 13 years of no new multi-family affordable housing construction in Jefferson County, OlyCap is moving forward through a partnership with the County to build a 44-unit apartment complex in Port Townsend! The multi-story building on 7th and Hendricks will offer studios through
Not long ago, a few concerned community members attended a training on housing cooperatives, and wondered how they could promote more of this type of inclusive, affordable housing here in Jefferson County. Together they launched the Quimper Housing Development Cooperative as a way to support the development of alternative community-based solutions to affordable housing. QHDC serves as
Local homeowners have a new opportunity to help bring permanently affordable housing to those who need it most in our community. Bayside Housing, having run their transitional housing project at the Old Alcohol Plant since 2016, has seen time and time again that their clients struggle to subsequently find long-term places to live that are
In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011, Vermonters assessed the statewide damage and noticed that mobile home residents were disproportionately affected by this extreme weather event. Mobile homes have historically offered an affordable housing solution for many families, but because they are less well insulated and are typically propped up on
What drives your commitment to work for affordable housing? I was a collegiate congressional intern when the seeds of the financial/mortgage crisis were sewn in 1996. When I graduated, prices had risen, so I lived in a barn. As a freelance writer, I covered local planning commission meetings for my hometown paper just as my
The OPAL Community Land Trust on Orcas Island was one of the first of its kind in the West, and has remained a leader in creating perpetually affordable housing for rent and ownership in their small, rural community. OPAL’s work serves to “bridge the gap between the island’s high property values and the modest incomes of many