WASHINGTON, D.C. – Housing Authority of Okanogan County will receive more than $390,000 to help house people in the county.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray announced the funding last week. It’s part of more than $8.6 million in new, additional mainstream housing vouchers that will flow to several communities in Washington state, including Okanogan County.
The program funds local housing assistance efforts and supportive services for non-elderly people with disabilities and their families, including those facing homelessness or who are at risk of institutionalization.
The $393,570 that Okanogan County will receive is part of an estimated $150 million in funding for the program that will help house an additional 18,000 families across the country. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray was instrumental in securing the increased funding, according to Murray’s office.
“We know the importance of stable housing to the health and well-being of people with disabilities, and I’m glad to see this federal investment flow to vulnerable Washingtonians,” Murray said. “This funding will help provide independence and security for so many Washingtonians with disabilities — including those facing homelessness or at risk of institutionalization — from Seattle to Vancouver to Omak, and beyond.
“As an advocate for people with disabilities and those facing housing insecurity in Washington state and across the country, I won’t stop fighting to get our communities the resources and support they need to live and thrive.”
Housing authority Executive Director Nancy Nash-Mendez said the agency “thrilled to be among the recipients of additional mainstream vouchers. We know that the award process was highly competitive, which makes news of the award that much more meaningful.”
People in Okanogan County who qualify for assistance under the mainstream voucher program may wait for years to receive their vouchers, since the housing authority has had only 165 Section 8 vouchers available, she said. The Section 8 waiting list has been closed for more than two years and there are more than 300 families on the list.
“With these new mainstream vouchers, many disabled individuals from the wait list will receive vouchers and begin searching for a place to call home,” said Nash-Mendez.