Chelan and Douglas Counties have appointed two new members to their Homeless Housing Task Force.

Traci Heyen and John Davies were selected to serve on the 20-member committee that sets priorities for homeless services and programs in the two counties.

Chelan County Commissioner, Shon Smith, says both were chosen due to a unique qualification the Task Force was seeking.

"The Task Force held a public application process and was looking for individuals who have actually experienced homelessness. Everyone who applied had to meet that one specific criteria. We had many people apply, which is fantastic so we had many people to choose from who could bring us that perspective."

Smith says both Heyen and Davies have been homeless as recently as a few years ago and for different reasons.

"Traci and her family became unhoused in August of 2020 because of the Pearl Hill Fire and lived in transitional housing for two-and-a-half years. John was homeless off and on between 2018 and 2021 in Chelan and Douglas Counties due to several setbacks in life. So they are both well experienced in being homeless and know what specific challenges that brings."

The appointments are for two-year terms, which begin this month and will expire on Dec. 31, 2025.

In addition to Heyen and Davies, the Task Force also appointed representation from several small cities within the two counties, including Leavenworth Mayor Carl Florea and Entiat Mayor Renee Swearingen.

The Task Force, which currently consists of five voting members and 15 non-voting members, meets quarterly.

State law requires all counties in the Washington to have a task force on homeless housing to develop a five-year plan that addresses short- and long-term housing issues.

Chelan and Douglas Counties decided to combine for their task force in order to share money and other resources.

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