Marjie's House breaks ground

After about a year and half of planning, a new shelter in Oak Harbor is starting to take form.

Work crews started clearing a property next to the police station where a shelter, known as Marjie’s House, will be built.

The 16-unit complex will be divided equally between emergency housing for women and children and transitional housing.

“We’re very excited because, once they broke ground, it became real,” said Lisa Clark, service center director for the Opportunity Council.

The Opportunity Council, Citizen’s Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) and the Housing Authority of Island County are partnering to operate the $1.8 million facility.

CADA and the Opportunity Council will work to place people in the shelter while the Housing Authority will manage the site.

Marjie’s House is named after Marjorie Monnett, a Freeland resident who was murdered in a 2002 domestic violence incident.

Clark said she was also known for her work in the social service community.

To pay for the shelter, the Housing Authority received a $350,000 grant and a $1.4 million, 1 percent loan from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund. That loan is expected to be paid off in 40 years.

It took two attempts for the housing authority to receive the funding but Steve Gulliford, director of Housing Authority of Island County, said that situation is common. Donations were also sought from organizations such as Island Thrift and the Boeing Employees Community Fund.

The new shelter will provide eight units for transitional housing. Such housing will allow families to build a rental history and provide time to find suitable housing.

To accommodate families, the units can be altered.

Work crews from Island Construction are clearing the site, but a building permit has to be issued before construction can begin.

Gulliford said that construction should be complete in about six months.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at

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