City of Oak Harbor to give $50k to Homeless Coalition

Oak Harbor may use some of its federal relief funds to support the Whidbey Homeless Coalition.

The city of Oak Harbor may use some of its federal relief funds to support a donation to the Whidbey Homeless Coalition’s emergency shelter on Morris Road near Coupeville.

Officials had earlier earmarked $50,000 in the city’s biennial budget to donate to the nonprofit organization.

They had planned to use money from a fund that is supported by property taxes but recently learned it’s not an allowed use. Finance Director David Goldman told council members that other options are to use money from the general fund, proceeds from a sale of a property on Sleeper Road or the American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Although council members took no formal vote, the consensus was for the city to use some of the $6,578,122 it received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Goldman said he will bring a budget amendment for the council’s approval of the funding change.

In a June 28 letter to the city, Whidbey Homeless Coalition Board President Katie Watkins explained that the group needed help to pay for the installation of a fire suppression system at the former Jehovah’s Witness building that it plans to turn into an overnight shelter.

The organization had already raised 75% of the cost.

Watkins asked the city to help it with the last 25%, adding that the Whidbey Presbyterian Church had offered to match donations up to $85,000.