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Forks-based entity expands to help veterans in Sequim
Forks Forum - 11/30/2023
By Matthew Nash
SEQUIM — Work has begun to remodel a Sequim home for local elderly veterans.
Sarge's Veteran Support, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to housing at-risk veterans on the Olympic Peninsula, has signed with Jones Custom Contracting of Carlsborg to remodel a group home off South Seventh Avenue.
The home is named "Minsky Place" after late-Sequim benefactor Lt. Col. James Minsky (U.S. Air Force), who gave $900,000 posthumously through his estate and via friends and estate executors, Helen and Greg Starr.
It'll be the first home of its kind in Sequim through Sarge's Veteran Support, said Executive Director Cheri Tinker.
"I'm very excited and it feels like a sense of relief because we've been wanting to have some housing in Sequim so badly," she said.
"There's a lot of struggling vets who need care later in life."
Minsky Place will permanently house six elderly veterans with on-site support. Jones Custom Contracting, a veteran-owned company, is under contract for about $345,000 to put in doorways on the east and west side of the home, convert eight bedrooms into six larger ones, redo the kitchen and bathrooms, add landscaping, a portico, a covered porch, and more.
Tinker said Sarge's Veteran Support still seeks about $150,000 for furnishings and art.
Minsky's donation is the largest yet for the housing network, Tinker said, and it allowed them to purchase the Sequim home for $520,000 through real estate agent Nell Clausen with RE/MAX Prime.
Remodeling began in mid-October and will continue through April 2024, she said.
The home already has an office for a case manager, intercom, and monitoring and sprinkler systems, which saves the agency a lot of money, Tinker said.
She was surprised by the cost of art and furnishings before the agency opened "Hobucket House," a seven-bedroom group home located in Forks for disabled and low-income veterans, last year.
So far, the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club has committed to making quilts for each bed, Tinker said.
"There are so many vets in Sequim, we're anticipating quite a few folks who want to help," she said.
To support Sarge's Veteran Support and their veteran housing programs, visit SargesVeteranSupport.com or send donations to Sarge's Veteran Support, 250 Ash Avenue, Forks, WA 98331.
Just how many elderly, at-risk/homeless veterans there are in the area is unknown, Tinker said, but Sarge's Veteran Support has been getting more calls from the Sequim area in recent years.
She said she's aware of at least six veterans who have needed a home in the last year; two of them have died.
Typically, individuals do not make much money and need ongoing support in varying ways, Tinker said.
As construction nears finishing, the agency will set up a waitlist around March. Those interested can call 360-374-5252 or visit the agency's website in March.
The opening of Minsky Place might coincide with an agency gala fundraiser tentatively set for April 27 in Sunland, just north of Sequim, Tinker said.
Minsky's donation went across Clallam County with Sarge's Veteran Support using the remainder to pay off a house mortgage in Forks where two veterans reside, place asphalt on three housing parking lots, purchase the former VFW building in Forks for the agency's secondhand store The Attic, and place new carpet in its Forks shelter.
The agency also received $50,000 from the Clallam County 2060 grant for the Sequim remodel, and a $900,000 appropriation requested by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, as a Community Funded Project to cover some of the expenses of the remodel and some operation costs including the hiring of a case manager.
Tinker said the agency's next goal is a project in the Port Hadlock area.
Sarge's Veteran Support began in 2011 as Sarge's Place, a veteran-specific shelter. For more information, call 360-374-5252 or visit SargesVeteranSupport.com.