Grant to fund homeless housing in Yakima County - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Grant to fund homeless housing in Yakima County

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YAKIMA, WA - Right now, Yakima County is using half a million dollars in new grant funds to aid homeless housing projects.

Yakima Neighborhood Health will use over $380,000 of the grant toward 36 housing units for both homeless individuals and families in the Yakima area.

Nearly $20,000 of the funds will be used by Yakima Valley Conference of Governments for planning and allocating the grant to the right sources.

Larry Mattson, Executive Director at the COG, says the money from this grant will help integrate the needs of those searching for housing with services that can help them become and stay employed and stable.

"For the chronically homeless that are repeatedly on the street, it's really tough for them to break that cycle because they get arrested," said Mattson. "They go to jail, they used the emergency rooms, and to intervene takes significant resources."

Funds will also focus specifically on housing homeless families, and the Conference of Governments is working hard to solve this issue because it is a growing problem in Yakima.

"It's so disruptive, especially for younger kids if they're homeless, to maintain grades, to stay in school...and it's also hard for their families, their parents to maintain jobs," Mattson explains.

The county plans to continue helping Yakima's homeless with mental health aid, helping end drug dependency, and connection with employment opportunities in addition to housing services.

For the local homeless community, Mattson says 'the future is bright'.