Staff with Fresh Start Housing LLC, an Olympia-based rehabilitation group that recently purchased the old Nisqually Valley Care Center property with plans to implement a transitional housing program, plan on holding a meeting via Zoom video conferencing Aug. 19 to answer questions from curious and concerned community members.
April Sparks, director of residency at Fresh Start, said they plan on hosting the meeting through Pierce County Council Member Jim McCune’s office at 9:30 a.m.
During the meeting — which is being held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis — staff hope to answer questions and concerns from community members and dispel a number of rumors that have been circulating online through Facebook.
To submit questions or for a link to the meeting, community members can contact McCune’s assistant, Amy Cruver, at 253-370-8006. The public can additionally reach out to Sparks at 425-780-3976 with questions.
A number of community members had already planned a meeting at McKenna Park this Saturday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m. to discuss the 24,000-square-foot facility, which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. The facility will ultimately have 140 beds.
While Fresh Start Housing received an invitation from community members, Sparks said they don’t plan on attending and would instead opt to meet the community at the online meeting.
Fresh Start is hoping to open the facility this September as a drug-free transitional housing facility.
Their tenants — who range from mental health outpatients to possible low-level sex offenders — will be expected to meet a strict curfew, stay on the premises during most times and avoid use of drugs and alcohol. Breaking certain rules can result in eviction.
People have been critical online about the program coming to McKenna ever since the Nisqually Valley News posted a story on the property acquisition back in early July. A number of people on Facebook have voiced concern over transportation and job availability as well as the program’s close proximity to a local bar.
Timothy Timmer, co-owner of Fresh Start Housing, previously told the NVN that their main goal is to get people clean and sober and back on their feet in a responsible manner.
A records request submitted to the Washington State Department of Health and to the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (a former Department of Social and Health Services program) requesting all audits and investigations on Fresh Start Housing came back with no results.