Bayside Housing and Services passes 17,000 bednights

Brennan LaBrie
blabrie@ptleader.com
Posted 7/24/19

Bayside Housing and Services continues to expand. The transitional housing program, located in the building adjacent to the Old Alcohol Plant Inn in Port Hadlock, has grown from 8 rooms to 20 rooms from its opening in 2016.

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Bayside Housing and Services passes 17,000 bednights

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Bayside Housing and Services continues to expand. The transitional housing program, located in the building adjacent to the Old Alcohol Plant Inn in Port Hadlock, has grown from 8 rooms to 20 rooms from its opening in 2016.

It just moved in its first families into newly renovated rooms capable of hosting them, a goal since it opened in 2016.

Bayside also recently passing 17,400 bednights “That means that many people were not sleeping in the streets, the forest or on the beach,” said Gary Keister, owner of the Old Alcohol Plant.

By comparison, numbers provided by Bayside from June 2017 reported 5,427 total bednights. Its guest count at the time was 12 about half the current number, Keister said.

In 2017,the average length of stay was 124 days, with the shortest being 27 and the longest 380. Since then, Keister said the average has risen above 200. Meanwhile, the waiting list sits at 60 to 80 people at any given time.

“If we had twice the space we would fill it,” he said.

This is due to a lack of housing in Jefferson County, affordable or otherwise, that was underestimated by the founders of Bayside.

“We did not foresee this,” Keister said about the average increase in bednights. “We were hoping to move people out between 90 and 120 days and it’s upwards of 200 simply because there is no housing. The preponderance of our people have moved out of the county.”

Residents have been relocated as far as Pierce and Skagit counties, he added.

Bayside Housing offers temporary housing for veterans, seniors and people who are working and need housing in order to obtain or retain a job. Keister said many of the residents are elderly women, many of whom have experienced abuse. Their residents are primarily referred to them by OlyCAP, Jefferson Healthcare, Dove House, Discovery Behavioral Health, and the Serenity House shelter in Port Angeles.

Those with jobs or fixed incomes such as social security pay 30% of their incomes, while those without income pay nothing. The program is subsidized by profits from the Old Alcohol Plant and three fundraisers a year: The Townsend Bay Music Festival in the summer, the Skunk Island Festival in the Fall, and the annual Bayside Galas. This year’s Townsend Bay Music Festival essentially matched last year’s raised sum of $7,500.

Bayside offers residents classes on subjects such as financial literacy, a “Women to Women” listening circle, and an art therapy class taught by a former resident. Bayside staff helps residents obtain I.D.s if necessary, and volunteers drive residents to the hospital and food banks.

Gardening classes are offered to Bayside staff and residents in the numerous vegetable and flower gardens that dot the property. These gardens are harvested by the two resident gardeners for the Inn’s restaurant, Spirits Bar and Grill, with some vegetables donated to Bayside’s weekly Sunday resident dinners.

(This article includes material from The Leader’s archive.)

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