United Way Grants Extra Gifts for Homeless

Bernice & William Mahan

Bernice & William Mahan

The Board of Directors on Saturday, October 29 at their Board Meeting and Retreat made additional grants to two local agencies dealing with homelessness in Kitsap County. The two gifts were part of The William and Bernice Mahan Charitable Trust and were earmarked by the Trust and United Way of Kitsap County for vulnerable populations. The first grant is to the Salvation Army as a challenge grant for $10,000 to support another Sally’s Camp to help shelter homeless families this winter and it is hoped that community members will help by matching these funds dollar for dollar.

“Sally’s Camp was very successful last year and helped 46 families get off the streets and into warm shelter this past winter”, said David Foote, Executive Director, United Way of Kitsap County.

Salvation ArmyThe best part was that through a partnership with Salvation Army and Kitsap Community Resources case management assistance they were able to place 13 of those families into permanent housing.  “With the economic situation continuing to worsen, our Advisory Board has asked us to consider taking on this much needed project again”, said Major James Baker of the Salvation Army. “As we considered the feasibility of doing Sally’s Camp again, we turned to United Way for help again this year and they responded and we are very thankful for their help!”

The Coffee OasisThe second grant is to Coffee Oasis for $20,500 and is specifically for their shelter program for homeless teens. These dollars will help Coffee Oasis build out their overnight shelter for 13-­17 year old homeless youth. This project is very significant for helping eliminate homelessness among vulnerable homeless youth in Kitsap County. “We looked at the program being built by Coffee Oasis and decided that this was the type of program that United Way needed to be involved in”, said Foote. “The Board and Staff have been very impressed by the work and dedication that Coffee Oasis has for homeless youth throughout Kitsap County and knew that these would be dollars well spent in our community.”

“We are very thankful to be a United Way partner”, said Dave Frederick, Executive Director of Coffee Oasis.

“This grant will be a huge help, not only in helping us complete this needed shelter for teens, but to reducing teen homelessness and making a serious impact on social issues such as abuse, poor health, suicide and school delinquency suffered by homeless youth. We are grateful for United Ways help!”

Homelessness is a key issue and has been on the minds of many in Kitsap County officials, especially as the recession has affected so many. With the predictions for another wet, cold and probably snowy winter it is important to have a place where those living in cars and tents can be safe and warm. Kitsap Emergency Management is also seeking volunteers to help staff severe weather shelters around the county.

They have scheduled training for volunteers on November 9th at the Emergency Management building at 911 Carver Street, Bremerton. If you would like to help, please pre-­‐register at: www.kitsapdem.org.

“This is an issue that needs to be addressed and we at Untied Way felt that it was time for us to step up and help these two programs”, said Foote. “Being homeless may not be something for most of us to fear; I would suggest that you read Richard LeMieux’s ‘Breakfast At Sally’s’ and maybe then you can get an idea of what it is like to fall on hard times, to lose everything in what appears to be a blink of an eye! Most in the county who are homeless didn’t choose that life. Richard LeMieux can certainly attest to how it can happen.”

If you would like to help with either or both of these projects, you can send your tax deductible contribution to:

United Way of Kitsap County
647 4th Street,
Bremerton, WA 98337

Every dollar will be passed on to them to help house those in need. Unite Way is a tax deductible, 501(c)(3) organization and raised money locally in support the health and human services network of 36 partner agencies.