The non-profit organizations in the North Curry Service Center in Port Orford found themselves in a pinch after Coastal Home Health and Hospice announced they were moving out earlier this month.
The hospice has moved to 1010 First St. S.E., Suite 165 in Bandon. The Gold Beach branch of the hospice agency is also moving, to Suite A in the Cannery Building, 29975 Harbor Way at the Port in Gold Beach. The first move is designed to better serve southern Coos County and Port Orford.
With its departure, the seven organizations remaining in Port Orford — most of them spinoffs from Curry County due to cutbacks — were going to be about $15,000 short in paying their bills. The organizations all shared the costs of utilities, phones and the cost of an administrator.
But Curry Community Health CEO Jan Kaplan was able to work out a Memorandum of Understanding between his organization and the county to maintain the community services building.
Under the terms of the MOU, the county still owns the building and will be responsible for maintenance, insurance and utilities; CCH will now manage it, collect rents and provide space for similar social, health and educational agencies, Kaplan said.
They have a lease until June 30.
It might not have happened if CCH hadn’t offered to chip in $7,000 toward the $15,000 shortfall. The remainder will be made up by the county taking over insurance and utilities, and overall phone cost reductions, Kaplan said.
“What’s nice about it, we were able to come together to get the problem solved,” he said. “Solutions went back and forth a couple times, but we were looking for a win-win. We had some resources to invest toward our mission, and it felt good to be able to do that. We didn’t do this from a ‘How do we make money?’ standpoint. This is part of our mission. We are part of the local health community for all of Curry County. It’s really about taking responsibility for the health of the county.”
County commissioners agreed, and said as much in meetings leading up to the MOU.
The other agencies in the North Curry Service Center include Veterans Services, Seniors/People with Disabilities, Curry County Mental Health, Oregon Coast Community Action, Curry County, Southwest Oregon Community College and North Curry Families and Children’s Center, plan to stay for at least next year.
“Drug addiction, mental health — these are crucial services,” said Commissioner David Brock Smith. “It will cost us a lot more on the back end — the courts, the jail — if people can’t get counseling on the front end. I’m going to work with Curry Community Health to see what it will take to keep those services for the citizens.”
If the building had closed, the county would have to pay back grant funds it used to bring the structure up to code, as well.
“It made more sense (for the county) to pay utilities than to pay back money on a grant,” Kaplan said. “They’d still have to pay utilities and insurance, even if no one’s in it. In weighing it out, they were going to have spend something on it, and this will help preserve the resource.”
The resource the center offers is as important as the building that houses it, commissioners agreed.
“Curry County Health was worried about the closure of that building and losing those services,” Smith said. “Curry County was worried because we own the building and have the liability.”
“The board saw this as very, very critical,” Kaplan said. “It’s what we need to be doing in north county, and the additional investment was worth it. It provides a single place where people can get an awful lot of information. It’s hard to duplicate it. The goal is for north county folks to have one place where they can connect with as many agencies as possible so they don’t have to go searching all over the place.”
His agency is getting settled into its own offices there, as well, since the county finished spinning off that department earlier this year.
“Things are going well for us,” Kaplan said. “All systems are up and running, we’re paying our bills, receiving the funding we anticipated — everything’s working. What’s remarkable is how much we did in the time period we had.”