In March of 2020, there were approximately 5,400 unemployed people in Kitsap County, for an unemployment rate of only 4.1%. Just one month later (April), the unemployment rate for our county jumped to 14.1%! That means the number of people looking for work here soared from 5,400 to a staggering 18,500! This is ONLY Kitsap County. Businesses are trying to reopen, but many people are still looking to other sources for help.
One of these sources, and an organization that we work with, is Kitsap Community Resources (KCR). Since the COVID-19 shutdown, KCR saw a 25% increase in the number of people contacting them who are looking for help with job training and job placement. This number includes those who have always been self-sufficient, running their own small business, which has been decimated by this terrible shutdown. They are now forced to look for work in the long term, and file for unemployment benefits in the short term.
KCR also helps with housing. There is currently a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent. But, this will eventually stop, leading to a flood of requests for housing assistance.
At the same time, the homeless issue continues, and is undoubtedly growing in numbers due to the COVID-19 issue. Medical care must be dispensed, even if the patient is unable to pay for it – and an increasing number of patients find themselves in that situation. Another organization that we work with, Peninsula Community Health Services (PCHS) has seen a tremendous increase in its expenses, including dispensing the COVID-19 vaccine, without a corresponding income increase to pay for the health care it is dispensing.
Although at the peak, over 14% of Kitsap residents were unemployed, more than 80% of us did not see a downturn in our income. Maybe you are part of that 80%. Maybe you would like to do what you can to help the other 14%. If you already donate to a church or charitable organization, please continue to do so. However, if you are touched by the overwhelming destruction this economic shutdown has caused to many of the people in our midst, and you can afford to help the less fortunate in Kitsap County, we hope you will find it in your heart to donate.