Category Archives: Homeless

Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

Up to $3 million from the local mental-health tax will be doled out July 1.

A sales tax of 0.1 percent dedicated for local mental-health services went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by Kitsap County commissioners in September.

The July deadline is just one of several in the recently released strategic plan from the Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team. Proposals for projects or programs, aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill juveniles and adults cycle through the criminal justice system and the demand on emergency services, will be accepted from Feb. 20 to April 18 at 3 p.m. Kitsap County County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board will review the proposals.

The citizens advisory board also is asking for community input on what residents what to see funded by the sales tax via an online survey.

In the 62-page strategic plan, which outlines recommendations for closing service gaps for mentally ill and substance abuse, it says county and surrounding peninsula region had the highest number of mentally ill boarded ever recorded in October 2013.

The plan recommends increasing housing and transportation options, treatment funding and outreach, among other suggestions.


Reporting and responsibilities outlined

The strategic planning team makes recommendations the citizens advisory board and establishes the strategic plan for the mental health tax.

Proposals will be submitted to the citizens advisory board for review. The board will make recommendations for the proposals and funding level to the county commissioners, who ultimately approve the proposals.

The citizen advisory board will annually review projects and programs while receiving input from the strategic team, and report to the director of Kitsap County Human Services, who will present reviews to the county commissioners.


 Meet the team and board

Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team

  • Al Townsend, Poulsbo Police Chief (Team Co-Chair)
  • Barb Malich, Peninsula Community Health Services
  • Greg Lynch, Olympic Educational Service District 114
  • Joe Roszak, Kitsap Mental Health Services
  • Judge Anna Laurie, Superior Court (Team Co-Chair)
  • Judge Jay Roof, Superior Court
  • Judge James Docter, Bremerton Municipal Court
  • Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
  • Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Michael Merringer, Kitsap County Juvenile Services
  • Myra Coldius, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Ned Newlin, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Robin O’Grady, Westsound Treatment Agency
  • Russell D. Hauge, Kitsap County Prosecutor
  • Scott Bosch Harrison, Medical Center
  • Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH Kitsap Public Health
  • Tony Caldwell, Housing Kitsap


Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board

  • Lois Hoell, Peninsula Regional Support Network: 3 year term
  • Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3 year
  • Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth: 3 year
  • Connie Wurm, Area Agency on Aging: 3 year
  • Dave Shurick, Law and Justice: 1 year
  • Walt Bigby, Education: 1 year
  • Carl Olson, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • James Pond, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Robert Parker, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • Russell Hartman, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Richard Daniels, At Large Member District 1: 1 year

Officers, others aid woman forced out of her home by stuff

It began with a call for a welfare check from Adult Protective Services. Someone had reported to APS that there was an older woman living in her car, and the Port Orchard Police Department responded.

Sgt. Donna Main was one of the officers who found the woman and learned why she was apparently homeless. The woman was parked in front of a nice, older home her family has owned since 1946. She had cared for her mother in that home before the mother died. There were so many memories … and so much stuff.

The entire property showed signs of neglect. Both the front and back yards were overgrown with brush.
“You couldn’t see the house from the street, because it’s all overgrown,” Main said. “You can open the door … sort of.”

Inside are piles of stuff to the point one would have to crawl over the stuff to get in.

“She said she was trying to clean up a bit,” said Main. But clearly the task had become overwhelming. So the woman, who is 73, moved into her car.

“When I found her in the car, she had food; she was warm,” Main said. “She wasn’t asking for help. She wasn’t asking for assistance. She wasn’t asking for handouts. She’s a very strong woman.”

It was a police matter, but it wasn’t. The woman was not in danger, and she wasn’t a danger to anyone else. Main could have written her report and called it a day.

“I just couldn’t personally go home to my warm bed knowing this 73-year-old woman was sleeping in her car,” Main said.

Officer Bill Shaibly also took an interest in the woman’s plight.

The woman had all the symptoms of having a hoarding disorder, defined by the American Psychiatric Association as excessive saving of “items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.”

Often, hoarding is associated with other types of psychiatric disorders, but this woman appeared to be thinking clearly, Main said. And she was open to help in getting rid of the excess stuff.

“She knows she needs to make some changes,” Main said. “She knows she needs to let some stuff go if she wants to get back in her house.”

Main and Schaibley recruited friends and workers from Naval Base Kitsap to clear the front yard a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend, a group from the community tackled the backyard, with help and donations of supplies like bags and gloves from Port Orchard Walmart. Main emphasized that the help wasn’t directly connected to the police department. It was simply people responding to a neighbor in need.

Main and others have arranged for the woman to receive pro bono counseling and dental work.

In upcoming weeks, they will tackle the inside of the house.

“It’s an enormous job,” main said. “I don’t know if this can be done. But if we don’t try, we’ll never know.”

Volunteers Needed for Homeless Tent Camp

The Kitsap Sun has followed efforts of advocates for the homeless to establish temporary shelters in Kitsap County. One of the proposals, a tent camp on property of the Bremerton Salvation Army, is shortly to come to fruition.

The camp, to house families with children in 10 4-person tents, is set to open Jan. 12. The camp will be screened from view, and volunteer gatekeepers will monitor who goes in and out. Volunteers will take shifts to provide ’round the clock supervision of the camp, both to ensure the safety of those living there, and to make sure the camp runs in an orderly way, organizers say.

A volunteer training is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Salvation Army in Bremerton, 832 Sixth St.

Sally Santana, one of those involved in helping organize the camp, sent the following release, requesting volunteers. A background screening is required. The camp is to run for six months. They are looking to fill six four-hour shifts of two people per day. Volunteers can take more than one shift.

Here are the details from Sally:

The Salvation Army is recruiting for volunteers to serve at “Sally’s Camp”, it’s temporary tent camp for homeless families. It is due to run for six months only, beginning from the day it opens. We anticipate opening Wednesday, January 12.
We are looking to fill six four-hour shifts of two people per day, for a total of 24 people. More than one shift can be taken by a volunteer if they so choose.
Each person will need to:
1. Be at least 18 years of age.
2. Pass a criminal history background check with no convictions.
3. Complete The Salvation Army’s Child Safety Training program, which will be administered on Thursday, January 6, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Salvation Army in Bremerton, 832 Sixth St.
4. Read and sign TSA’s Code of Ethics form.
4. The Camp Coordinator will also be at this meeting and give you the overview of your duties as “Gatekeepers”, ensuring the safety and security of the families inside the camp. Any questions you may have will be answered at this time.
We will open camp when we have one month of volunteer time scheduled.
For scheduling purposes, it would be very helpful if you could schedule out a block of time to volunteer. For example, 4 am to 8 am, Saturdays, in April. Or 6 pm to 10 pm, Monday thru Friday, for a week. We will, however, be very grateful for any amount of time you can give.
If you plan on attending, please rsvp to me ( as soon as possible so we have sufficient materials available.
Please forward this out.
Thank you so very much for your compassionate heart.