7th Haven to Help with Housing Shortage

by Marie Bogan, Staff Writer

As cities and civic organizations around the world struggle to address insufficient housing, one local non-profit decided to take on the challenge. Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) is building a 43-unit affordable- housing complex at Seventh and Hendricks streets in Port Townsend, near the shopping center with the QFC store and Jefferson County Public Health office.

In addition to living spaces, the two-story facility—to be called 7 th Haven—will also have on-site support services, a child-care center with play area, and a sheltered court- yard. According to Kathy Morgan, the OlyCAP director of housing and community development, there are well over 319 people experiencing homelessness in Jefferson County. She said that most of those are families with school age children.

“As our rents continue to climb, the wage disparity grows wider,” said Morgan. “This project will allow folks with low incomes—working folks that do not make enough to afford rentals in our area—to stay in our area.” She added, “I hope that this project gets replicated over and over again, because this is not even close to the 700 affordable units this county needs as of 3 years ago.”

The “Net Zero Energy” building has been designed to meet ultra-high energy efficiency standards. Employee-owned Clark Construction of Bainbridge Island is handling the work, which began last June.

Dale Wilson of Port Ludlow was a driving force behind the endeavor, according to Morgan. He was executive director of OlyCAP when the wheels were set in motion. “He and I agreed,” said Morgan, “we just needed to build.” Cherish Cronmiller took on the challenge when Wilson retired, and she became executive director.

7th Haven will begin accepting applications from homeless and low-income candidates by spring 2023, when building completion is expected. Morgan reported that these will be the first affordable units built in Jefferson County since 2006, when OlyCAP developed Port Hadlock’s South Seven Senior Village.

OlyCAP, a 501(c)(3) community-action organization, has been serving the people of the Olympic Peninsula for 55 years. For donations to OlyCAP or more information on the 7 th Haven project, see olycap.org/donations.