By Philip Haldiman
A new Community Assistance Resource Center with the mission to provide residents easy access to nonprofit services covering a wide range of needs is scheduled to open June 27.
The new facility is being built as an expansion of the Peoria Community Center, 8335 W. Jefferson St.
Senior Human Services Coordinator Debbie Pearson said construction began Jan. 2 and is expected to be completed on time, June 14.
“My dream is to have our center very coordinated with Surprise and Avondale, so the west side is offering the right kind and the right amount of services,” she said. “And if we don’t have ours on one day, we would know the schedules and be able to cross-refer with each other and with the organizations.”
The center has three nonprofits that already occupy space and provide services on a regular basis at the community center: Adelante Health Care, Foundation for Senior Living and Arizona@Work.
The following six nonprofits will be joining the space: JAG, #Bloom365, Marc Community Resources, Benevilla, Child Crisis Arizona and Stepping Up For Seniors.
All these agencies will be considered occupants of the Community Assistance Resource Center for purposes of cross-functionality and resource referrals, where they will provide direct services to residents on an as-needed basis.
Each agency will be provided their own work space — either a cubicle or office— and all agencies will have access to consultation rooms for private conversations.
Ms. Pearson said the nonprofits were chosen based on a 3-year needs assessment report and work plan completed during Fiscal Year 2017 by city staff, covering Fiscal Years 2018-2020.
Each nonprofit is contracted with the city for three years and at the end of the period the city will review contracts to make sure the organization is the right fit for the services residents need at the time.
Benevilla will have a workspace in the new center and offer information and resources to older adults, adults with disabilities and the families who care for them.
Courtney Allen, Benevilla vice president of program operati_ons, said the plan is to have a staff member work at the resource center one day a week and a Benevilla Family Resource Center staff member there another day a week.
“Into the future, we hope to occupy the space more often to be able to provide as many resources as we can,” she said.
Child Crisis Arizona, established more than 40 years ago, is best known for operating the only children’s-only shelter in Maricopa County, but it is so much more, said EJ Hughes, vice president of operations and strategic initiatives.
The organization will expand their services as a part of the new resource center initiative, offering foster care, kinship and family education.
The child welfare agency’s mission is to provide Arizona’s children a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect, by creating strong and successful families.
“Child Crisis Arizona provides emergency shelter, foster care, adoption, counseling, early education, family preservation and parenting support services to Arizona’s most vulnerable children and families,” Mr. Hughes said. “Child Crisis Arizona accomplishes this through prevention, intervention and education programs designed to support the thousands of children and families who may be at risk.”
Cost is estimated to be about $1 million for the resource center.
The funding scenario includes $450,000 in federal funds from a portion of the Fiscal Year 2019 Community Development Block Grant, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CDBG program provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. Other sources are $300,000 in re-purposed Grand Avenue Coalition Funds and $128,000 in re-purposed General Fund Grant Funds.
Additionally, $150,000 in Neighborhood Grant Funds will be re-purposed for one year.
Council member Bill Patena said the resource center has been 15 years in the making.
“This is going to be an amazing thing for Peoria,” he said. “Teaming with Surprise and Avondale also allows us to reach so many more people.”
If you go
What: Community Resource Center
When: Grand opening is June 27
Where: The new facility is being built as an expansion of the Peoria Community Center, 8335 W. Jefferson St.
Hours: The center will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment.