North Coast Resource Center Suspending Operations – December 13, 2011
Kevin L. Hoover
16TH STREET – Its ability to aid Arcata’s needy sapped by funding shortfalls, a depleted staff and board of directors and several high-tab equipment malfunctions, the North Coast Resource Center (NCRC) is taking a time out.
The organization, formerly known as the Arcata Endeavor, is located in the Arcata Service Center across from the Arcata transit center.
When operating at full strength and in keeping with its original premise, the NCRC has offered a variety of services to homeless individuals ranging from basic food and hygiene needs to longer-term counseling and job placement.
With the erosion of funding and personnel, the NCRC has had to scale back to core services such as food box deliveries to the homebound.
But a streak of bad luck has further debilitated the organization, according to Board President Derk Schulze.
Its heavily used delivery van has a bad water pump, and repairs will cost about half the value of the depreciated van itself. Its computer network server has died and needs replacing, one of two clothing dryers has gone out and even the ASC’s walk-in refrigerator needs a new compressor.
The shutdown commences Dec. 30, and its duration is unknown. “A lot of it is variable,” Schulze said. “We’ll be restructuring and making a concerted effort to secure much-needed core funding.”
He said the NCRC will appeal to local funders with an emphasis on “showing change and corrections from the past.”
“Funding is the biggest need,” Schulze said. “We need people to be committed to monthly giving.” He said small but sustained contributions over a long time period are more helpful than single, large gifts, though obviously, no donations will be refused.
Its annual funding goal is $150,000, which Schulze said would be “the cat’s meow.” One sizable grant is already in the works.
Along with financial support, the NCRC needs physical participation. It has been lacking eight boardmembers and going without most permanent staff positions – an unsustainable and leaderless situation made bearable only by the dedication of its remaining staff and volunteers.
As part of the restructuring, the NCRC hopes to hire a new executive director, administrative manager/director/grant writer, operations manager and case worker. In addition three “strong” board members are joining the NCRC, leaving five slots still open.
Longtime NCRC Director John Shelter is leaving the organization, Schulze said.
Once funding and personnel are reestablished, Schulze said he hopes the City of Arcata finds the “political will” to support the NCRC.
As one of its final efforts before the shutdown, the NCRC will hold its annual Christmas meal Friday, Dec. 23.
Those wishing to assist the NCRC are welcome to call (707) 822-5008.
Note: The following is a press release issued by the NCRC following publication of this story. – Ed.
December 15, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local agency forced to suspend services to the community
ARCATA – The North Coast Resources Center (NCRC) will be suspending services temporarily effective January 1, 2012.
“Faced with this decision, the Board concluded that if the organization was going to continue we would need a time of transition to reorganize and aggressively pursue core funding to stabilize our programs and carry out our much needed services to the community,” said Derk Schulze President of NCRC. “It’s been a very difficult decision, but without appropriate staffing and adequate funding we needed time to restructure the service center and its programs.”
Since July 2010, the Board along with its former Executive Director, John Shelter, has worked tirelessly to keep the doors open. The organization has been operating with insufficient staff, resources and funding. During its “transitional closing,” NCRC will be taking some time to restructure and secure operating funding for staff, which will include two administrative positions and four supportive program staff members, and needed repairs and upkeep.
“We have been working with the other area non-profit agencies to ensure that this action doesn’t leave our clients and community without some services. Our staff has been wonderful and supportive, but just can’t continue to take on the tremendous workload. We are working hand-in-hand with Food for People to ensure food box availability continues.”
Schulze added that Food for People will graciously be distributing food boxes to over 150 housed families during NCRC’s temporary closure. NCRC’s community meal, supplemental food program, Back-to-Basics, showers, laundry, program referral and homeless court community service will all be affected by the suspension of service.
“We are working at getting these programs back to full operation as quickly as possible,“ he said. “It’s been very difficult, especially in this economy, for the community to understand that our program and community donations only just cover core expenses. The homeless are always the first to suffer and feel the loss of services.”
One of the programs that will no longer be offered this winter and early spring at NCRC due to lack of funding is the Extreme Weather Shelter (EWS) program.
“As the board grappled with this heart-wrenching decision, the writing was on the wall that we just couldn’t continue to operate our programs on such a tattered shoe string budget. The Service Center simply does not have the basic funds required to support staff supervision of the program, intake, outreach, showers, meal preparations, clothing, sleeping bags and transportation to and from the shelters.”
Schulze said that the Board has been informing all its partners and collaborators of the present situation of NCRC. He said he hopes to continue to work closely with all of them to strengthen the services provided to our community and remain positive.
“It is our hope that the community will rally on our behalf, that it will feel empowered to step up and keep the programs and services of the North Coast Resource Center going.”