PT Council grants $30K for Homeward Bound

Chris Tucker ctucker@ptleader.com
Posted 6/27/17

Affordable housing got another boost June 19 after the Port Townsend City Council voted unanimously to grant $30,000 to Homeward Bound.

The money is to be used to “reboot” the local land trust …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

PT Council grants $30K for Homeward Bound

Posted

Affordable housing got another boost June 19 after the Port Townsend City Council voted unanimously to grant $30,000 to Homeward Bound.

The money is to be used to “reboot” the local land trust Homeward Bound and the funds are to pay for costs related to reorganization, including updating legal documents.

The $30,000 had previously been earmarked for use by Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) for a housing study in 2016, City Manger David Timmons said, but that study didn’t take off so the money had not been spent.

Council members Michelle Sandoval, Catharine Robinson, Robert Gray, Amy Howard, David Faber and Mayor Deborah Stinson voted for the grant. Council member Pamela Adams was not at the meeting that day.

Gray expressed skepticism about the grant at first because Homeward Bound was just getting off the ground and hasn’t had much activity lately.

“I really have serious concerns about how fast this is going … so far we’ve sold property to Homeward Bound worth $500,000-$600,000 for a $1 … We’ve loaned them $250,000 to move the property over here,” Gray said of a recent project that moved a four-unit, two-story building from Victoria, British Columbia, to Port Townsend in May.

“We are also responsible to the citizens of Port Townsend to spend their money wisely and if this goes south next year then it’s going to be a problem,” Gray said. “I know we need housing but if [the fourplex] just sits there for a long long time that isn’t going to provide any housing either.”

Faber said he did not think the council was “throwing good money after bad” and said that the council support of Homeward Bound would benefit the city.

‘LEAP OF FAITH’

Sandoval said the city was taking a “big leap of faith” and was right to be concerned.

“I also think that we’ve talked about affordable housing for a decade and certainly that has been one of the priorities or the goals that we’ve actually put on the top of our lists for the past couple of years,” she said.

The city had an opportunity with the fourplex and took it, she said.

“It was not perfect but in some ways this is pushing us to make good on our promise to do something. I don’t know – if the possibility of that fourplex being right in front of us, if that didn’t happen – whether we would have really made a move this year to take concrete steps in this direction.

“This is pushing us. It may not be in the right order, necessarily, but I think that it’s putting our feet to the fire. This opportunity and all of this coming at us like a big wave is just what we needed in this community for a wake up call about the dire situation that we’re in for rentals and for affordable housing,” Sandoval said.

Robinson said that the $30,000 reorganization grant for Homeward Bound should be considered separately from the $250,000 bridge loan that made the purchase and relocation of the Victoria fourplex possible because the council had already agreed to allocate the $30,000 for affordable housing in 2016. The city just didn’t allocate the money at the time, so it was still in the city coffers, waiting, she said.

“I agree with Michelle – I think if this fourplex never surfaced in Victoria we’d still be sitting here … so I think we’re putting the money to work. Yes, there’s risk but I have confidence our city manager is watching over this and is very actively involved in the process … some momentum has started and it’s important to keep moving,” Robinson said.

Stinson said that if the city didn’t help Homeward Bound at this point then the $250,000 bridge loan and the larger project would be put at risk.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment