Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

The Southern Oregon Coast Resource Center in Gold Beach, up and running since March 1, held its grand opening Thursday. The center holds offices for Oregon Coast Community Action (ORCCA), the United Way of Southwestern Oregon, AdvancedHealth, South Coast Business Employment Corporation (SCBEC), the Curry Homeless Coalition (CHC) and provides space for a Veterans Administration veterans service officer and Supportive Services for Veteran Families.

According to ORCCA Curry County Services Coordinator and CHC board Chair Beth Barker-Hidalgo, the center provides “one-stop-shopping” for services including health care, Oregon Health Plan (OHP) signups or renewals, employment and housing.

Hidalgo said earlier she hoped the center would grow “like a snowball,” and noted the center was not just for released inmates but anyone in need.

The center looks deceptively small from the entrance but once inside, guests Thursday remarked on how office after office appeared along hallways traveling deep into the building.

Showers are available as well as clothing for employment and outdoor equipment for the homeless such as backpacks and sleeping bags. Hidalgo noted the kitchen could be used to provide food for those in need, and meeting rooms were available for groups to use.

SCBEC career consultant Melissah Hendrickson said the center had made a huge difference in her ability to help those seeking jobs.

“I can reach people who don’t have transportation to Brookings,” she said. “We have added 43 new clients in the past couple months, and 15 of those couldn’t get to Brookings.”

Hendrickson also works out of the employment center near Grocery Outlet in Brookings.

A client waiting to see Hendrickson said she was one of those people without a way to Brookings and called the new location “amazing.”

AdvancedHealth community health worker Jesse Leguee said the center keeps him centrally located with other services; he can advocate for a client’s health care or get them renewed or signed up for OHP and also walk them down the hall to seek employment or housing.

“It’s just great to have all these agencies right here,” he said.

Advanced Health CEO Ben Messner said having two employees at the center, Leguee and a case manager, helped ensure “people do not fall through the cracks,” and made it easier for the community when needs arise because people can go to a central location.

United Way Executive Director Jen Shafer said her organization will use the center as a hub and hire a coordinator for Curry County to raise money for local nonprofits and events as well as work on collective efforts such as housing.

“It’s great and amazing to share space with such a powerhouse group of organizations,” she said.

Hidalgo said the center operates in partnership with the Curry County Parole and Probation Department and is partially funded by the department through the Criminal Justice Commission and a modified Justice Reinvestment Grant. The center is operated by CHC and money from AdvancedHealth pays the rent.

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