Kitsap County to hire an architectural firm to design new homeless housing’s interior.

The first section of the new homeless housing off of Mile Hill Drive in Port Orchard has been successfully achieved.

The next subsequent step of the $6.3 million project is for the county to hire an architectural company to diagram and assist oversee the development of the brand new homeless housing facility.

“I think progress has been slow at this point,” said Doug Washburn, director of Kitsap County’s Department of Human Services.

“Just getting through all the hoops — environmental reviews and legal requirements that come with federal dollars — takes time.”

The shelter, expected to be completed by mid-2023, will house 75 residents, Washburn said.

Once finished, the Port Orchard shelter will be the first of its kind in South Kitsap County. The additional shelter beds will reduce the number of homeless individuals in the county, including those living in encampments like those at Veterans Memorial Park, Washburn said.

County officers working on the new shelter stated they plan to as soon as possible arrange a public meeting, perchance in May, to update the community on the growth of the project. A comparable session was held in November and furnished neighbors of the new homeless housing the possibility to ask questions and voice concerns they had about the ongoing project.

During the neighborhood meeting during winter, some neighbors of the project puzzled why the new housing facility used to be located near a residential area. David Grout, who identified himself all through the public meeting as president of Mile Hill Public Safety Organization, complained the county had considered how to function the shelter however failed “to do the hard questioning to combine this venture into the surrounding community.”

The shelter at 4459 Mile Hill Drive is being constructed in the building that once housed the Olympic Fitness Club, next to the Astound Broadband office (formerly WAVE Broadband). The 20,000-square-foot facility, which sits on 4.69 acres, is set off from the road and has a large backyard.

The site was selected because it met zoning requirements, the building was connected to the sewer system, and came equipped with several restrooms and showers, Washburn said. The location’s proximity to transportation and community services were other factors that favored the location.

Work already done on the building includes installation of a security camera system and roof repairs, Washburn reported. He said fire and safety assessments have been made. A hazardous materials review and landscape work have also been completed. 

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