Mason County will receive $200,000 from a capital budget appropriation to create permanent, supportive housing for Mason County Veterans. This is in addition to the $100,000 in funds that were designated towards veterans housing by the Mason County Commissioners in late 2015.
The 2016 annual homeless point-in-time count in Mason County showed a 55% increase in homeless veterans with the count moving up from 14 to 31 who self-identified as homeless veterans. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans states that veterans are twice as likely as other Americans to become chronically homeless.
“Finding solutions to affordable housing takes a diverse team,” said Tammey Newton, Human Services Coordinator for Mason County. “As a team, you have to think outside the box and reach out to let others know you need assistance.”
Late in 2015, Mason County reached out to Homes First! of Lacey to see if they would be interested in bringing their business model to Mason County and help make permanent, supportive housing a reality. Homes First! has 11 homes for adults with development disabilities; five Oxford Houses for clean and sober living; a home that houses five veterans who were homeless, and other scattered site housing in
“In addition to Homes First!, we reached out to State Representative Dan Griffey and shared the vision with his team. He encouraged us to apply for a capital budget appropriation,” said Mrs. Newton.
“I am proud to have been part of making this project a reality. Veteran homelessness is a tragic and serious problem, and we should be doing all we can to ensure our military heroes are properly cared for,” said Griffey. “These services are essential to the revitalization of our community, and my goal is to make sure this project is one of many more in our region.”
In January of this year a team made up of Mason County Public Health and Human Services in coordination with Homes First!, the Veterans Mentor Program and the City of Shelton launched an outreach campaign. A public meeting was held that had a standing room only crowd in attendance. The team has continued to build on that momentum.
“Our goal is to find a property that has space enough for our first permanent, supportive housing facility and a shelter for our Mason County Veterans,” stated Tammey Newton.
“We have looked at several properties in Mason County and have selected a site we would like to pursue,” said Executive Director Trudy Soucoup of Homes First! in Lacey.
To learn more about how you can volunteer to make affordable housing a reality, please contact Tammey Newton, Human Services Coordinator for Mason County at 360-427-9670 Ext. 293.