Chelan County is in the process of further establishing its system for Coordinated Entry for those experiencing homelessness within its jurisdiction.

Commissioner Kevin Overbay says Coordinated Entry serves a number of purposes in assisting the homeless.

"Coordinated Entry promotes a system-wide coordination for a more effective and strategic response to homelessness. It basically helps crisis response systems transition from being project focused to person focused. Through Coordinated Entry, systems can monitor and inventory housing resources and ensure households are prioritized for available services."

The goal of the County's crisis response system, including Coordinated Entry, is to ensure that homelessness for anyone is rare, and should it happen, is brief, and only occurs once.

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There are four phases to the Coordinated Entry system, including access; assessment; prioritization; and referral.

Overbay says in addition to assisting those in need, the Coordinated Entry process also aids the County in a number of ways.

"This gathers a lot of data for us and helps us not only set our five-year Housing the Homeless plan but also provides a standardized assessment, prioritization, and referral process for folks who are in need of homeless housing resources."

The County has traditionally used an outside contractor to stand up its homeless programs but has recently hired a three-person team to handle the process starting this year.

The three members will be receiving over 80 hours of training in the weeks ahead and will be using space at Columbia Station, 300 South Columbia Street, to perform their work thanks to a partnership between the County and Link Transit.

The County hopes to have its Coordinated Entry team fully up and running by July 1.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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