Kitsap County YWCA offers a shoulder to lean on

As penny-pinching becomes commonplace, YWCA of Kitsap County continues to lend support to families in need.

The YWCA ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in a Violent Environment) Family Services department advocates problem solving, crisis prevention and intervention, family support and home and visitor outreach.

It offers a Latino support group, kids programs and resources for women, among others.

“YWCA wants to provide families with tools to progress in their lives,” YWCA Executive Director Linda Joyce said. “We’ve taken on the challenge of attracting as many families as possible.”

At a free community workshop Monday, Bremerton Housing Authority (BHA) employee Clarence Nelson, who heads the division of Contract Management Services, answered questions from the public and provided information on subsidized housing in Bremerton.

Part of the ALIVE program, the workshop was the first in what Joyce hopes becomes a series of informative question and answer housing sessions offered to the public.

“We’re taking a leap of faith that we can keep the service going,” she said. “We’re hoping that it will grow.”

Nelson, who grew up in public housing until the age of 13, discussed affordable housing options and the different programs BHA offers for low-income citizens.

“Public housing has always been near and dear to my heart,” he said, encouraging the approximate 15 attendees to recognize their value to society. “This is a beautiful community, even in terms of subsidized housing. You are all assets to the community.”

Local property manager Jim Adrian also attended the workshop, offering information on leases, rental policies and more from a property-owner’s perspective.

Joyce said YWCA hopes to partner with local agencies to bolster its base of programs and services. She called “education” and “collaboration” keys to success in helping the less fortunate and keeping the YWCA operating.

“It’s becoming crucial that we provide these services, because the cost of living is so expensive,” she said. “The role of the YWCA is to be encouragers, that’s what we want to be.”

YWCA of Kitsap County is located at 905 Pacific Ave. in Bremerton and can be reached at (360) 479-0522.

Joyce encouraged potential partners as well as families in need to drop by or call.

“Many families don’t connect to programs because they don’t know about them,” she said.

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