(BREMERTON, WA) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today visited Bremerton to announce that she has secured $500,000 for Kitsap Community Resources, a Bremerton nonprofit that assists low-income families with poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Nearly 20,000 residents of Kitsap County currently live in poverty.
"I'm so proud to have secured this funding for KCR's crucial work," Murray said. "I know these are federal dollars very well spent."
Many of KCR's services are currently housed in leased buildings, but with Bremerton's revitalization, property values are increasing and rents are becoming unaffordable. The funding secured by Senator Murray will support KCR's efforts to consolidate all its services in a new, 20,000-square-foot building. The building will house the Bremerton Women, Infant, Children (WIC) clinic, a commercial kitchen to prepare meals for low-income seniors and children, all of KCR's employment and training programs, and KCR administration.
"This new building will facilitate KCR's work, and will change so many lives in Kitsap County. This new facility will be a place to get help building a better life, making an already strong community even stronger," Murray said.
Today, Senator Murray toured the existing facilities, where she met families who are being helped by KCR. She was joined by Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman, Commissioner Patty Lent, KCR Board President Terri Washburn, State Representative Derek Kilmer, and community leaders.
Senator Murray's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:
“I'm delighted to be in Bremerton today to show my support for Kitsap Community Resources, its employees and volunteers, and all the members of the Kitsap County Community whose lives are being changed for the better by your work.
Even after so many years of coming to Bremerton, like everyone who visits Bremerton, each time I come here I'm struck by how beautiful a place it is. And, in recent years, with the revitalization of downtown, it's become even more beautiful. I'm so proud to have been a strong supporter of the revitalization. This community has shown through that revitalization that it cares deeply about what kind of place Bremerton is.
The revitalization projects have brought increased opportunity and prosperity to Bremerton, and to all of Kitsap County. But, the fact is, even with all the benefits residents are enjoying as a result of the revitalization – as we know – there are too many people here in Kitsap County whose boats are not being lifted by the rising tide.
Nearly 20,000 Kitsap County residents are living in poverty today. Too many of our neighbors, our friends, and their families are finding it hard to make ends meet, and we've got to do more to help them get an education, find a good job, and provide for their families.
But you know, I don't only love to visit Kitsap County because it's a beautiful place. For me it's about more than that. It's about how wonderful a community this is. I've seen time and time again over the years, that this is a place where people truly care about their neighbors. And nowhere is that community spirit exemplified better than in the work being done by Kitsap Community Resources.
Your hard work and dedication are essential in helping those among us who have fallen on hard times and need a little help to get food on the table, to find work, to put their lives back together, or to help their kids get a good education.
In my time in the Senate, I've seen firsthand that to truly address the challenges people face, we have to use a comprehensive approach. We have to address employment and training challenges, nutritional deficiencies, problems with literacy and education, and difficulties in finding safe, secure housing.
This is the only way we can begin to give families the kinds of opportunities they deserve -- and that's just what I find most encouraging about your work. Through programs like Head Start and WIC, you're helping women and children not just to get proper nutrition, but also to get educated in order to form healthy eating habits, and hit the ground running in school. Through FAST, Community Jobs, WIA, and through your Business Services Consultant, you're helping to get people trained for good careers, so they can support their families and move towards self sufficiency. And the Parenting to Employment program and The Parenting Place help strengthen families by encouraging employment while teaching better parenting skills.
Through these programs, and so many others, you're addressing the full range of challenges that Kitsap County's poor are confronting, and you're helping create safe, secure homes for Kitsap County's families and children. I am deeply grateful for the work you're doing.
That's why I'm so proud to have secured $500,000 for your crucial work as the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. I know these are federal dollars that are very well spent. The facility you build will facilitate your work, and will change so many lives here in Kitsap County. This new facility will be a place to get help building a better life, making an already strong community even stronger.
And, it will also serve as another key part of the revitalization of downtown Bremerton, further building on all the great work that's already been done to keep this a great place to visit – and to live and raise a family.
I want to thank all the public and private partners who are propelling this important project forward. I'm really looking forward to the day when we break ground on the new Kitsap Community Resources building.
I'm so proud to support your work, and to be your partner in the United States Senate. And I want you to know that you can continue to count on my support as we work together to improve the lives of people throughout Kitsap County.”