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Millions distributed to Oso slide survivors, supporters

The United Way and Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation have given millions of dollars to those impacted by the March 22 Oso slide, as well as to groups serving those survivors' needs.

However, millions more are still available to those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.

"The United Way and Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation still have funds left to disseminate, which will be focused on meeting people's long-term needs," said Christie Connors, executive director of the Community Resources Foundation.

Its programs include permanent family support and resource centers in Darrington and Stanwood, as well as a temporary one set up in Arlington in the wake of the slide.

Of the $4.53 million received by the United Way and Cascade foundation, $2.3 million has been distributed. Most of that money has been given to or set aside for families and individuals.

The rest has helped first responders, addressed economic development needs, supported youth programs and paid for disaster case managers, who are working with families to help them rebuild their lives.

Both organizations have worked closely with North Counties' Family Services in Darrington, and the Family Resource Project in Arlington, to get the money to people living in Darrington, Oso and Arlington.

Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County, praised Connors and Wyonne Perrault for their work.

"They've been working with families to make sure the money gets to the people who need it most," Smith said.

"There was an incredible outpouring of support locally and from across the country," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert of Arlington, president of the Cascade foundation board of directors. "We can say with confidence that all of that generosity made a huge difference in people's lives."

"Most of what we've distributed from Arlington will help people re-establish their households," Connors said of the $454,000 disseminated by the Family Resource Project.

Of the $1.6 million that North Counties' Family Services and the Family Resource Project have handed out, 83 percent has gone to families who were directly impacted by slide, including people who lost a loved one, their home or experienced flooding.

Examples of the money distributed to families and individuals include:

• $444,000 in emergency cash to meet immediate needs.

• $140,000 for temporary housing, rent, mortgage payments and replacement of household items.

• $130,000 in gas cards to address increased commuting costs due to the closure of Highway 530.

• $28,000 for memorials and a scholarship in the name of one of the victims.

• $18,000 for funeral-related travel expenses.

• $14,000 for medical expenses.

• $12,000 to help replace lost wages for people who couldn't work in the days immediately following the slide.

A total of $1.45 million has gone to supporting community organizations, particularly those that have had increased costs responding to the mudslide.

Examples of the money distributed to community organizations include:

• $455,000 for first responders throughout Snohomish County and in neighboring jurisdictions.

• $240,000 for economic development efforts, the Hampton Lumber Mill and small businesses in Oso.

• $142,000 for youth programs.

• $150,000 for disaster case managers, working directly with families impacted by the slide.

A total of $1.2 million is yet to be distributed to help families and individuals, and $210,000 is yet to be distributed to support community organizations. An additional $276,039 is yet to be allocated.

To see if you qualify for those funds, or for other information, call North Counties' Family Services in Darrington at 360-435-0308 or the Family Resource Project in Arlington at 360-913-5412.

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