Echo Housing says changes have been made as investigation continues into misuse of funds


As Evansville Police continue to investigate allegations of former Echo Housing director Stephanie Tenbarge misusing funds, a city council vote, and nearly half a million dollars of 2019 Echo Housing funding remain at a standstill.

Echo Housing Executive Director Chris Metz says he hopes an update Monday night may change that.

The tabled council vote, and possible funding freeze are currently halted, but the Echo Executive Director says despite a difficult past several months, this non-profit is finally starting to move forward. 

“I would say today that there is as much or more accountability in this organization today than you’ll find in any similarly sized or situated non-profit. It is literally steps and steps and checks and checks to make sure something like this never happens again,” said Metz.

Monday night, Metz is tasked with proving this to Evansville City Council. 

“Transparency, a good checks and balance system in place, just reinstituted trust with us and the community,” said Jonathan Weaver, Councilman at large. 

Evansville Police continue their investigation into Former Echo Housing Director Stephanie Tenbarge and her alleged misuse of funds. 

Echo housing turned over a forensic audit to police in July. 

After wrapping up an internal investigation since last appearing before council, Metz says the non-profit has overhauled its accounting policies. 

“The list of changes is extremely extensive, all checks require two signatures, all purchases over a 1000 dollars require board approval, the bank statements are received by the board president, and reconciled by the board president and treasurer,” said Metz.

Echo Housing has also added another board member and office administrator to maximize accountability, all while opening the doors to 44 more units of affordable housing at Garfield Commons.

With nearly a half million dollars of funding on the line with the council’s vote on freezing funds in November, Metz says he hopes council will see changes are being made.

Council is set to vote on Echo Funding November 26. 

Evansville Police say there is no current update on the investigation.

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