In late 2022, The Salvation Army Bremerton corps announced its temporary emergency homeless shelter will close April 30, 2023, so the organization can return to its regular mission and programming, which includes providing meals, social services, a clothing closet and food pantry to vulnerable people in the community.
“The Salvation Army stepped in to serve the community when it was needed most, providing additional shelter beds during the pandemic. I believe these actions were a saving grace during one of the most difficult times in a generation. We appreciate that they were able to keep the temporary shelter open during this time,” said Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler.
Prior to the pandemic, The Salvation Army operated a winter shelter, funded by Kitsap County, typically open Dec. 1 through March 31. In 2020, the county asked The Salvation Army to remain open beyond that regular winter season, due to the need for temporary sheltering during the height of the pandemic and declared state of emergency. The Salvation Army agreed and has kept the shelter open continuously since then, using government pandemic-relief funding.
“The Salvation Army has been an extremely valuable and gracious partner in our pandemic-relief work for people experiencing homelessness,” noted Doug Washburn, director of the Kitsap County Department of Human Services, which distributes shelter funding and coordinates the county’s housing and homelessness program. “We are very grateful they have been willing to provide this temporary sheltering program for so long.”
Throughout the course of the pandemic, The Salvation Army has served 1,704 individuals, and provided more than 53,000 overnight stays, in addition to providing meals and social services.
Captain Dana Walters, one of The Salvation Army officers in charge of the Bremerton site’s operations, commented, “We have been happy to support our community’s efforts to shelter those most in need during the pandemic. We will continue to meet the growing community need by providing meals, social services and the reopening of our clothing closet and food pantry at our current location.”
Another homeless shelter, operated by the Kitsap Rescue Mission at the Quality Inn on Kitsap Way in Bremerton, will remain open until operations are transferred to the county’s new homeless shelter on Mile Hill Road in South Kitsap, currently undergoing extensive renovations. Kitsap Community Resources also provides shelter to the homeless at various Bremerton-area hotels, funded through temporary pandemic relief programs scheduled to end in fall of 2023.
County leadership and social services organizations continue to seek additional solutions through the Kitsap Housing and Homelessness Coalition to alleviate the homelessness crisis in Kitsap, coordinate response and obtain additional funding through local, state and federal resources.
- Learn more about Kitsap Housing and Homelessness Coalition and how to get involved at https://kitsaphhc.org.
- Details on funding programs, the South Kitsap homeless shelter, the annual count of those living without homes and Kitsap County’s strategic planning to address the homeless crisis are available at https://kcowa.us/housing.
- Find out about the Salvation Army resources at https://bremerton.salvationarmy.org.
- Visit the Housing Solutions Center of Kitsap Community Resources at https://www.kcr.org/housing to find eviction prevention and rental assistance and referrals to housing resources.