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Building Inclusive Communities: Clallam’s Approach to Affordable Homes

Policy and Advocacy
Building Inclusive Communities: Clallam’s Approach to Affordable Homes

Affordable Housing: A Cornerstone of Thriving Communities

As I stroll through the streets of Clallam County, I can’t help but marvel at the transformation happening right before my eyes. What was once a patchwork of disparate neighborhoods is now blossoming into a vibrant, inclusive community – and it’s all thanks to the tireless efforts of the local affordable housing solutions organization.

You see, the team at Homes for Affordable Clallam County (HACC) doesn’t just build houses. They’re crafting a future where everyone, regardless of their income level, has access to a safe, comfortable place to call home. And let me tell you, their approach is nothing short of inspiring.

Partnerships and Innovative Policies: The Keys to Affordable Homes

One of the things that sets HACC apart is their commitment to collaboration. They’ve forged powerful partnerships with local government, businesses, and community organizations, all working together to tackle the affordable housing crisis head-on.

Take the City of Port Angeles, for example. They’ve been a true trailblazer, implementing a suite of forward-thinking policies and programs designed to incentivize and support affordable housing development. From the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program to the Permit-Ready Plans Program, they’re making it easier than ever for developers to bring diverse and accessible housing options to the area.

And the results speak for themselves. Just last year, the city’s efforts led to the creation of 50 affordable homes in the Sequim area, thanks to a partnership with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. This project, funded by a range of partners including the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and the First Federal Foundation, is a shining example of what can be achieved when communities come together.

Supportive Housing: Lifting Up the Most Vulnerable

But HACC’s work extends far beyond just building homes. They’re also tackling the issue of homelessness and supporting those in need of stable, supportive housing. Take, for instance, the Peninsula Behavioral Health organization, which has been working tirelessly to provide housing solutions for high-need individuals in Clallam County.

By converting the All View Motel into 26 apartment units and taking on a project to construct 36 units of permanent supportive housing in Port Angeles, as well as converting space for five individuals to live in a group home in Sequim, Peninsula Behavioral Health is making a tangible difference in the lives of those who need it most. And with the unwavering support of HACC, these initiatives are able to flourish and make a lasting impact on the community.

Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities

But the HACC’s commitment to building inclusive communities doesn’t stop there. They understand that a strong foundation for families is essential to the overall health and well-being of the community. That’s why they partner with organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, First Step Family Support Center, and the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, all of which are dedicated to providing crucial resources and support to families in need.

From after-school enrichment programs and summer day camps to parenting classes and financial assistance, these organizations are making sure that every child and family in Clallam County has the tools they need to thrive. And with the backing of HACC, they’re able to reach even more people, breaking down the barriers that so often stand in the way of true community prosperity.

Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

But perhaps the most inspiring aspect of HACC’s work is their unwavering dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They recognize that creating truly inclusive communities means going beyond just building affordable homes. It means ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, feels welcomed, respected, and empowered to succeed.

That’s why they’re thrilled to see organizations like the North Olympic Library System, Peninsula College, and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce leading the charge in this crucial area. From implementing comprehensive equity plans to hosting inclusive trainings and events, these partners are helping to break down the systemic barriers that have long plagued our communities.

And as for the Odyssey Bookshop, well, they’re shining examples of what it means to be a true community-minded business. Owner April Bellerud and her team have rallied the community, supported United Way’s initiatives, and embodied the spirit of “Live United” through their unwavering commitment to making Clallam County a better place for all.

Volunteers: The Heart and Soul of the Movement

But the true heroes of this story? The volunteers. Organizations like St. Vincent de Paul, which is entirely staffed by volunteers, are the backbone of the affordable housing movement in Clallam County. With their individualized approach and deep care for each person they serve, these tireless individuals are building a more just world, one relationship at a time.

And let’s not forget Lexie J. Winters Photography, the recipient of the LIVE UNITED Campaign Volunteer Award. Lexie’s dedication, support, and generosity are a shining example of the power of volunteerism. By donating her time and skills as an event photographer, she’s helping United Way raise even more funds to create a lasting impact in the lives of people in our community.

A Future Built on Collaboration and Compassion

As I reflect on all that HACC and their partners have accomplished, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe and inspiration. They’ve proven that when a community comes together, driven by a shared vision of inclusivity and compassion, the impossible becomes possible.

Whether it’s building affordable homes, supporting vulnerable families, or championing diversity and equity, the team at HACC is leading the charge in creating a better future for all. And with the unwavering support of the people of Clallam County, I have no doubt that they’ll continue to pave the way for a more just, equitable, and prosperous community.

So, if you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop by and see the magic for yourself. Who knows, you might just find yourself swept up in the spirit of “Live United” and become part of the movement to build inclusive communities that everyone can call home.

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