This move-in had no pizza and no beer.  Kingston Rotarians, however, were nourished with coffee, cookies, and brownies on a drizzly Saturday, Mar 7, as they spearheaded the effort to move furniture, appliances, and furnishings into Kingston’s new Home of Compassion.  And they were more than nourished knowing their efforts, and those of many others - individuals, Kiwanians, local politicians - led to the opening of a place where five formerly homeless men can call home. 

The opening of this home marks the fifteenth such home in Kitsap County operated by Kitsap Homes of Compassion (KHOC).  Some background might be helpful for those unfamiliar with KHOC.  It was established in 2017 to help eliminate the problem of homelessness in Kitsap County.  At this time they have some 77 residents - formerly homeless - living in deeply affordable, long -term, supportive housing through shared, leased homes.  They emphasize these are not halfway houses for those with addictions.  This is not temporary housing.  It is long-term and meant to provide a worry-free environment that lifts residents from homelessness to the possibility of a normal existence.  KHOC leases three to five bedroom homes with consent from property owners.  The homes must be near public transportation, with places like grocery stores nearby.  Kitsap Community Resources gives KHOC referrals for potential participants who do not have pets or current addiction issues. Each participant must have a steady source of income of at least $700 per month.  Members pay a program fee starting at $500 per month for a private bedroom with cable, internet, and all utilities included. All bedrooms have locks on the doors for privacy, and members share the use of common areas such as dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.  

The Kingston Home of Compassion welcomed it’s first resident the day after move-in. It is near Village Green Community Center, bus lines, and the Food Market.  As of this writing three residents live there, with a fourth signed up and getting ready to move in.  One bedroom remains available.  This home, the one in Kingston, is for men only.  Others operated by KHOC are for single women, mothers with young children, seniors, veterans, and Olympic College students.  There is no live-in staff in the house, but each house has an assigned KHOC House Manager who visits the home weekly and assists the residents.  Kingston’s KHOC House Manager is Rae Holt, who has been a KHOC volunteer for more than a year.  Kingston’s home was completely furnished by donations from Rotarians, Kiwanians, Kingston Cares, and generous community residents.  Holt said, “everybody was wonderfully generous.  Beds, furniture, printer, washer and dryer, kitchen utensils, pots and pans.  In fact, we had more donations than we needed.” 

Holt said Rotary’s involvement in the move-in was truly amazing.  Organizing the move-in was Rotarian Stan Mack.  He recruited other Rotarians - Doug Hallock, Fredrick Branchflower, Sally Christy, Suzanne Jenny - and Kiwanians such as Dave Wetter, Cub Scout Master John Strand, and community members Ruth Westergaard, Mary Gleysteen and Bruce Williams.  They gathered where items were stored for the big move. Everything was in and set up by noon.  One other member of the community helped, too.  Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder, who had been involved in a “walk and talk” in Kingston that morning.  The walk took the group of residents past the new Home of Compassion. Following the walk, the Commissioner, also a Rotarian, returned to help move things in. 

According to Holt, he is looking for a second place to rent in the nearby community, this one to house single mothers with young kids.  Kingston North Kitsap Rotary Club has set aside a grant to help establish such a home.  Holt said, “one of the biggest challenges is finding homeowners willing to rent.” Homeowners who might have compassion to do such a thing should contact Holt at:  Regarding that fifth bedroom in Kingston’s new Home of Compassion, Holt said interested applicants should contact the Housing Solutions Center at Fishline in Poulsbo. 

  • Save the date.  While members of our community are coming together - bad choice of expressions - to wash their hands, shelter in place, eat and drink at home, and stay away from one another, Kingston Rotarians are at work - remotely - planning the fourteenth annual Swing for Rotary Golf Tournament at White Horse.  The date is Friday, June 19.  Unlike past tournaments, there will be no dinner and auction following golf, and tournament entry fees will be greatly reduced.  Yes, there will be winners announced and cheering and booing.  It will be a fun event.  Get the date on your calendar now.  Friday, June 19.

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