Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan Counties are considering a four county diversion center as an alternative to incarceration for substance abuse, treatment for mental illness, and homelessness.

Funding for the diversion center would come from federal, state, and local sources, including an increased sales tax request. Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay says the decision to provide a diversion center for treatment rests with the peoples' vote. " It will be a vote of the people to decide if they want to provide a sales tax piece to help pay for this."

Diversion centers are considered a pro-active approach to incarceration for treatment of drug addiction, mental illness, and stable housing. Overbay says a diversion center is an appropriate response for those requiring specialized services.. " We think this would fit very well for the four county area to start to explore for an in-patient center," he said. "And then looking at out-patient services."

Diversion centers can save the taxpayers money in reduced property crimes, criminal justice recidivism and costs, and provide housing stability during recovery.