Editor's note: This story is one in a series by the Kitsap Sun looking at the problem of rising homelessness amid a shortage of affordable housing. To see other stories in the series, visit kitsapsun. It's easy to become overwhelmed contemplating the rising homelessness crisisparticularly as rain thunders down outside.
Fortunately, it's also easy to assist people experiencing homeless in Kitsap. The county is teeming with organizations that aid homeless residents in a myriad of ways.
Shelters, food banks, nonprofit groups and faith-based ministries each fill a service niche, and just about about every organization helping the homeless is in need of volunteers and donations throughout the year. Twelve homeless women and nine children are staying at the house this fall, sharing meals together, like an extended family.
The youngest is 3 months old. Gerrish said the home has the same expenses as any other big household.
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Gifts of cash are always welcome — they help the shelter cover its costs and provide bus passes to residents. The house also can use donations of just about any disposable home good.
Residents and staff burn through boxes of soap, Ziplock bags, dryer sheets, paper towels and rubber gloves. Like many service organizations, St. Vincent de Paul accepts gifts of new clothing to distribute to people experiencing homelessness. Benedict Housea shelter and transitional housing center for single men in Bremerton, shares similar needs, while also relying on volunteers to prepare meals.
The Coffee Oasisa nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless youth, holds a training session for new volunteers on the first Saturday of each month. Frederick said the group looks for people who have the time and energy to make an ongoing commitment to the young people Coffee Oasis serves.
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More: Churches band together to get people off the streets. More: Stories show a narrow path out of homelessness. Food banks fill a vital role in communities across Kitsap, meeting a voracious need for food and services.
Bremerton Foodline alone distributedpounds of food last year, serving 1, families a month. Foodline executive director Kimberly Faulkner said many clients aren't homeless but are struggling to stay in their homes — sometimes choosing between buying groceries or paying the power bill. Volunteers and donations keep the operation humming. Some helpers bring their children to experience the gratification of serving others.
We have a lot of grateful clients saying 'thank you. People interested in learning about the homelessness crisis first hand can assist with another yearly effort: the January point-in-time count. The hour count provides one of the few sources of data on homelessness in the county, and are used to determine the amount of funding allocated to some local housing programs. Volunteers are paired with outreach workers to survey homeless residents at social services centers and in the community.
Many ways to help homeless in kitsap
Events surrounding the count are scheduled for Jan. For information, contact Cory Derenburger at cderenbu co. While helping out during the winter is important, Frederick at Coffee Oasis said service organizations are often inundated by donations and volunteers through the holidays, only to see that support dim after the Christmas lights have come down.
Walk with us into This story touches on a smattering of ways Kitsap residents can help. For more ideas, the Kitsap Continuum of Care Coalition publishes a brochure listing ways to assist people living in homelessness. A copy is posted at KitsapSun.
Below are some of the organizations serving the homeless in Kitsap. Additional resources are available by calling Benedict House men's shelter, S Cambrian Ave. Coffee Oasis teen centers, Burwell Street, Bremerton, Housing Solutions Center, Park Ave. Kitsap Community Resources, Park Ave. N, Bremerton, Facebook Twitter.
Many ways to help homeless in Kitsap. Tad Sooter Kitsap.