Community Needs Summary

Since 1966, the Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP),originally named the Clallam- Jefferson Community Action Council, has provided services to Clallam and Jefferson residents living below the poverty level, based on Community Needs Assessments.

The 2013 Community Needs Assessment identifies trends for Clallam and Jefferson Counties, which will be used to guide the planning and delivery of services focused on supporting the roughly 14,000 residents currently living below poverty. Programs address a wide range of needs, including but not limited to:

  • Senior nutrition

  • Housing services

  • Energy assistance programs

  • Community support programs, including job training, assistance with prescription medicine, and transportation programs, among others

  • Head Start preschool, the agency’s oldest surviving program, launched in 1966

  • In-home care programs

Data presented in the assessment cover numerous topics, including: population, economy, employment, transportation, housing, education, pregnancy and births, health, food and nutrition, older adults, and children. Multiple sources provided data for the assessment, including agency statistics, datasets, and articles produced by the local press.

The assessment itself and key findings from the assessment will be used in across OlyCAP’s organization and with partners and stakeholders as:

  • Critical input to planning and preparing for the future

  • Guidance to ensure that programming continues to meet the needs of citizens who can most benefit from services

  • A key requirement to ensure continued funding in key programs such as Head Start, the agency’s longest-running program, which serves young children and their families

  • Knowledge to be shared with government agencies and departments, and community partners with whom OlyCAP works to fulfill its mission

  • A tool with which to educate staff, clients, and members of policy and governing bodies so they are prepared to aid in planning activities and delivery of services

This assessment is the output of a concerted and coordinated team effort that involves stakeholders at every level of OlyCAP and agency partners. Extensive research and care has gone into this document to be sure that it accurately reflects the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you to everyone who has participated and given so generously of their time and expertise.

Key trends that are impacting Clallam and Jefferson County services areas

An Aging Population

From 2000 to 2011, the population of Clallam County grew 12% and Jefferson County grew 14%; growth resulted from migration of new residents into the counties. The median age of Jefferson County residents is 54.3 years and of Clallam County residents 49.6 years, both well above 37.5, the median age in Washington State. From 2000 to 2011, population growth in both counties has been highest among those aged 55 to 69 and 85+.

Nearly 9 of every 10 persons in Clallam and Jefferson County is White. Since 1990, the Hispanic population has increased 214% in Clallam County and 252% in Jefferson County.

From 2000 to 2008-2010, married couple with children households and married couple with no children households decreased while non-family households (persons living alone or unrelated persons living together) increased. In 2008-2010, nearly half of all births to Clallam and Jefferson County residents were to unmarried women.

Not only are older individuals moving into the area, but younger families with school age children are leaving. This puts a severe strain on the local school systems since school age populations are continuing to fall thereby decreasing available funding.

A Bad Slumping Economy

The median income in both counties is well below that of Washington State. The median income of Clallam and Jefferson Counties and of Washington State all decreased during 2008, 2009, and 2010; however, projections for 2011 are increased over 2010. In both counties, the median income is lower for families with children.

The proportion of the population in both counties living at or below poverty has increased from 2000 to 2010. The proportion of the population living in poverty in Clallam County is slightly higher than in Washington State. The proportions of all children (under age 18) and of school- aged children (age 5-17) living at or below poverty have increased, but not significantly, and are significantly higher than Washington State. Almost 1 in 3 Clallam and Jefferson County residents are living at or below 185% of poverty, the cut-off for eligibility for many programs. Significantly more pregnant women have Medicaid-paid births in Clallam and Jefferson Counties compared to the State.

Shifts in Employment

Employment trends are influenced by a shift away from manufacturing (lumber and forestry) toward the trade and service sectors (tourism and retirement). After government, the largest wage generating sector in both Clallam and Jefferson Counties is retail trade. Already high unemployment rates hit record highs in early 2009 related to the local, state and national economic crisis. These rates have fallen below the double digits in the last year; however, high paying jobs have not replaced those lost. As the population ages, more and more jobs may switch to low wage nursing assistance and health care and continue to move away from more higher wage technology and professional occupations.

Transportation Costs

Given the rural nature of Clallam and Jefferson Counties, use of public transportation is a challenge. Transportation was previously identified by community members as a top priority. Several Washington State Department of Transportation projects have been suspended due to current budget limitations. Most working residents commute by private car. We must also emphasize the cost of gasoline has continued to run high as it has done for several years. Families already strapped for cash are caught between the need to drive to work and the increased cost of fuel.

Lack of Quality Housing Options

Annual percent increase in number of housing structures was around 2% for both counties in the mid-2000’s but dropped to 1% or less in 2009 and 2010. In Jefferson County, owner occupied housing has decreased and renter occupied housing has increased. A larger proportion of home owners are spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing in both counties. Median home prices decreased after 2008, with both Clallam and Jefferson Counties’ median home price below that of Washington State in the fourth quarter of 2011. Housing for the poor and working poor is not available for many. Availability for public housing is currently non-existent for new claimants. Many individuals and families are technically homeless as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act.

Education Issues

Since 2007-08, public school enrollment in Clallam County increased on average 2% per year – primarily due to a new online program in the Quillayute Valley School District. Enrollment has decreased 2% per year in Jefferson County during that same time period.

Across many grade levels and districts, Clallam and Jefferson County students taking the MSP/HSPE scored below the Washington State average. The Clallam County dropout rate has increased dramatically over the past few years, and is much higher than Washington State. This is in large part due to the inclusion of the dropout rate of online students.

There has been a decrease in the Jefferson County rate, and the rate is lower than the Washington State rate. Dropout rates are highest among 9th graders in Clallam County and 12th graders in Jefferson County. Pacific Islanders have the highest dropout rate in Clallam County, more than twice the rate for White students. Among specific population groups, female students have the highest dropout rate in Clallam County and low income students in Jefferson County. The on time and extended graduation rates in Clallam County are below the State while they are both higher than the State in Jefferson County.

Since 2000, Clallam and Jefferson Counties and Washington State have a decrease in population with high school or less education, and an increase in population with higher education levels.

Pregnancy and Births

Births are slightly up in Clallam, just over 650/year, and unchanged in Jefferson County, about 200/year. Teen pregnancies have decreased. About 8 in 10 women access prenatal care in the first trimester; among low-income women, about 7 in 10. About 1 in 5 Clallam and Jefferson pregnant women smokes during her pregnancy compared to 1 in 10 Washington women. The rate among Clallam and Jefferson low-income pregnant women is 1 in 4. The rate of low birth weight is about 5%, statistically higher than in 1990-92.

Health Concerns

Jefferson adults are expected to live 53 years of healthy life at age 20 compared to only 49 years for Clallam adults. There has been comparison studies that demonstrate that compared to Washington State: fewer Clallam and Jefferson adults reported having health insurance, more had an unmet medical need, and fewer Jefferson adults reported getting dental care in the past year. Access to dental care had increased in Clallam County with the opening of the OlyCAP Oral Health Clinic in 2006; however, the closure of this Clinic in 2010 has again reduced resident access to dental care.

Immunization rates for kindergarteners are low in Jefferson County (50%) and about 80% in Clallam and Washington State.

About 1 in 7 Jefferson and 1 in 8 Clallam adults report poor mental health during at least 14 of the past 30 days. Compared to Washington State, the rates for publicly funded alcohol treatment admissions for adults and youth are higher in Clallam County. Local methamphetamine production has dropped and use and need for treatment have been decreasing. Clallam has had the highest rate of deaths due to opiate-drug overdose in Washington State.

The one-tenth of one percent sales tax for mental health and chemical dependency enacted in 2006 in both Clallam and Jefferson Counties continues to fund critical prevention and treatment programs.

Food and Nutrition

The food stamp recipient rates in Clallam and Jefferson Counties have been increasing since 2007. Utilization of local food banks in Jefferson has increased dramatically. WIC nutrition education session participation has not changed over the past few years; however, WIC preventive health service referrals have increased.

Many lack ready access to quality foods through supermarkets and/or farmers markets. The increase in the utilization of fast food and processed food has decreased the quality of daily meals and increased the likelihood of obesity and associated issues.


Older adults make up 35% of the Clallam and Jefferson population compared to only 15% in Washington. Forecasted population increases would add nearly 8,000 older adults in Clallam and over 6,000 in Jefferson. The economic well-being of older adults is somewhat better than in Washington (lower rates of poverty and Food Stamp use); however, 1 in 3 older Clallam adults report incomes below $60,000 compared to 1 in 4 in Jefferson.


From 2009 to 2011, the child (age 0-9) population decreased 2% in Clallam County and 4% in Jefferson County. In Clallam County the number of child care providers fell from 70 providers with a capacity for 1553 children in 2008 to a total of 53 providers with a capacity for 1226 at the end of 2012. In Jefferson County the number of providers dropped from 20 in 2008 to 9 in 2012 with a capacity of 202 children. Median annual cost for full-time care for one child ranges from 7% to 21% of median household income in Clallam and Jefferson Counties.

While kindergarten enrollment is decreasing, children with disabilities in the public schools are increasing. Accepted referrals for child abuse and neglect also increased.