The City of Wenatchee is extending grants for the Columbia River Local Homeless Housing Task Force, including grants for flexible funding and hotel vouchers.

On Thursday, city council members were asked to extend these grants from June 30, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2024.

Back in April, the task force considered extending funding for the following grants:

  • Women’s Resource Center: Miller Park permanent supportive housing (PSH). A grant of $185,272 to fund 20 units for houseless people with disabilities. Asking to extend their contract with an additional $152,850.
  • Women’s Resource Center: The Landlord/Tenant Liaison program received $262,000 for their 172 clients. 120 clients are currently housed and 52 clients are seeking rentals. They are asking for an additional $216,150 for funding.
  • YWCA: New Bridges permanent supportive housing provides seven units for chronically houseless people with disabilities and were initially granted $77,249. They are asking for an additional $63,730.

City Council were also asked to award three new grants for low-barrier shelters to provide flexible funding or hotel vouchers for their clients between July 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2024:

  • Wenatchee Rescue Mission: $81,000
  • People’s Foundation: $27,000
  • YWCA: $27,000 total
  • $25,000 from the city’s hotel damage mitigation fund

These grants will be funded through the city’s 1070 Sales Use Tax funds. Grant funds were recalculated based on a 10% cost of living adjustment (COLA).

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On May 11, the task force met with three shelter providers to discuss a flexible funding program which would provide hotel vouchers and additional funds that are not covered under shelter funding categories. 

The Diversion/Flexible/Hotel Voucher system is meant to help houseless individuals from entering the homeless system, or allow shelter staff to help financially assist those looking to exit homeless programs, covering miscellaneous expenses like background check fees, utility deposits, or personal health items.

The task force would also give short-term hotel vouchers to those who are unable to access a shelter, whether it be because there are no beds available, there are no ADA-compliant shelters available, or because they are unable to safely live in a communal setting.

“They have a lot of situations which occur a lot at the last minute, especially for women and children, where a housing voucher for a hotel up to seven nights is extremely useful,” Community Development Director Glen DeVries said.

DeVries said that there are currently provisions on this system, however those provisions will expire when certain state grants expire.

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