Commissioners approve KMHS project

"The Kitsap County Commissioners Monday approved a conditional use permit allowing the Kitsap County Housing Authority to build housing for people with mental illnesses. The eight apartments will be located at 4010 Petersville Road near Bremerton. I know this is not what the neighborhood wants, said Commissioner Chris Endresen, but it is what we are legally bound to do.Neighbors of the site appealed the Kitsap County Hearing Examiner's approval of the plan, but the commissioners unanimously approved the the housing authority's request to build two wood frame buildings that will be used by Kitsap Mental Health Services clients. This was a tough one. It is a scary situation for a neighborhood to deal with the unknown, said Commissioner Tim Botkin. These are community members and we have to help them out. KMHS currently has set up 11 homes throughout the county for their clients. They serve about 4,000 people.Julie Graves, housing development director for the housing authority, said the project should be complete by April 2001.We're going to do everything we can to work with the neighbors on this, she said. The buildings will sit on a .86-acre lot and include seven one-bedroom units, one two bedroom unit and community space.The apartments will be for extremely low-income clients who earn about $530 a month, according to Graves. All of the prospective renters will be screened for a history of violent crime, sexual offenses and drug crimes.But Graves victims of mental illness who commit crimes are the exception, not the rule. What we don't hear about is the hundreds of thousands of people who live with (mental illness) every day that are leading successful, productive lives, she said."

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