Men and women out of work because of COVID-19, or brought to their knees by a chemical dependency, or burdened by the seemingly intractable issues of old age, or beset by legal issues, or freaked about their immigration status.
A lot of people out there are hurting right now, and each in his or her own ways.
Providing people with physical and virtual access to programs that can help them when they need help is what the recently opened Auburn Resource Center at 2818 Auburn Way North is all about.
Providers like the We Care Clinic and Ideal Options offer help for people struggling with chemical dependency.
And Hopelink, which helps more than 64,000 people each year in Washington state with programs that provide the stability, skills and knowledge they’ll need to get out of poverty.
And Orion Industries and the Smart Talent temp agency for job seekers, and Sound Generations for seniors, and the Eastside Legal Assistance Program for help with immigration issues, and Asian Counseling and Referral Services.
Even the King County Library System is in the mix, with its access to a world of information.
“We’re making sure we cover a wide range of providers, so you can come in, talk about what your needs are, and we can hook you up with that provider, and sit you down in front of an iPad and have a conversation with that provider,” said Kent Hay, Auburn’s Outreach Programs Administrator, who set up the center and runs it.
“It fits in well with what we are doing,” Hays added. “That’s the goal of this whole thing. It’s a program, not a one-off. This helps everybody.”
And all of what’s there now is only the beginning of what the Resource Center will one day be.
In April, the city expects King County District Court to launch its diversionary Community Court at the site.
The idea is that the court will provide an avenue for the people who have been, for example, trespassed from city parks for illegally camping there, or for people who have committed misdemeanor thefts and the like, to attend the once-a-week court, and in the same building, they can get hooked up with the services they will need to satisfy the court they will no longer go out and continue to commit the crimes.
And if they are able to get through all of that with a bit of hand-holding, Hay said, the court will dismiss their case, keeping the incident off their records.
Hay said with a special card, people will be able to log in on their computer from home.
In addition, the Auburn Food Bank will soon relocate from the Burndale Homes complex on I Street Northeast.
“My hope is that it also helps homeless people when they are exiting homelessness because it’s right down the way from the day and night shelters and they can just walk over, walk in, meet with the providers and get help with employment and all the different services and still be close to the shelters,” Hay said.
All of this, a bona fide, 180-degree turnaround for the building where the Sports Page Tavern used to be.
“We are very intentional about what we are tying to accomplish here — we are trying to make it a space where it’s safe for people to come, a space that people want to come to, which doesn’t add to the problems this area already has,” Hay said. “We don’t want to add to the things that are problematic. We want to make sure we are good neighbors, and make sure the community knows people can come in and get help whenever they need it.”
“It will be a one-stop shop for the community, once it’s finished,” Hay added. “Not just for the homeless. It’s for everybody who is struggling with quality of life.”
Hours are from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays.