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County adds $15,000 to diversion program

At their Jan. 2 board meeting, Chelan County commissioners gave a burst of additional diversion dollars to the Wenatchee Rescue Mission after the nonprofit depleted its one-time financial assistance funds it provides to people teetering on a housing crisis.

The Board of County Commissioners allocated an additional $15,000 to be made available to those eligible for the money. The area’s Coordinated Entry system, which is operated by the Wenatchee Rescue Mission, has provided $9,500 to 17 clients since July 1, 2023.

“This is money that is primarily used to help people secure permanent housing by assisting with the payment of a deposit or first or last month’s rent. For many, without that initial assistance, the household would remain unhoused,” Commissioner Kevin Overbay said. “Grants aren’t typically a lot of money, but for the people who qualify, it can be the difference that gets them into permanent housing.”

The Wenatchee Rescue Mission contracts with Chelan and Douglas counties to operate the Coordinated Entry system, which may provide diversion funds if a person has a barrier to housing that can be resolved with the one-time funding. The monies come from local document recording fees collected by the counties’ auditors offices. Chelan County then oversees the distribution of those monies.

Diversion funds this year have been used for rent deposits, short-term storage fees, rental application fees, transportation and the payment of government documents, such as a birth certificate, that are needed to get into rental housing, said Amber Hallberg, Housing Program coordinator for Chelan County.

“Because we have seen such a great response to this newly implemented program, we are infusing additional dollars to continue to support the success we have seen over this past year,” Overbay said. “We are seeing a difference being made in people’s lives with a one-time financial investment that may have a longtime impact.”

Last Updated: 02/27/2024 11:59 AM

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