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CHEHALIS – More federal and state tax dollars are returning to Lewis County to continue paying for housing assistance and specifically eviction rental assistance for those in need. Lewis County Health Director J.P. Anderson says another nearly $43 thousand in federal funds to be used by Equity Institute to assist members of culturally diverse communities. Plus another $2.7 million for the Salvation Army’s programs. Money “designed to help address additional challenges in providing housing solutions for those trying to find housing”, says Anderson. Some of the finances that the county receives will be going toward the proposed permanent operations of the night-by-night shelter, which is now open through June. A community forum on the future of the nightly shelter for the homeless will be held beginning at 5:00 Thursday afternoon at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds Blue Pavilion. Deputy Lewis County Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg is working with county social services staff on the Lewis County Housing Initiative to answer future demands for affordable housing in the county’s communities. Eisenberg says, “It’s not something you’re going to solve with one big solution. It’s an ongoing strategy that you need to have to help people in the community move out of homelessness and into something better.” As part of the shelter forum, the county is looking for proposals from organizations that want to assist in continuing to serve with a nightly shelter and companion social services. In Chehalis, Mayor Tony Ketchum and staff met recently with the community group, Experience Chehalis to get ahead of any growing homeless population. Then the city had a discussion with the Mayor of Seattle, which Mayor Ketchum said, “It’s just an open conversation on where we can work together to do something beneficial.” Lewis County has been asked to assist with the cost of a fence around the perimeter of the Lewis County Historical Museum in Chehalis to keep people from camping there. Photo courtesy: The Chronicle, photographer Jared Wenzelburger

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