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Style Magazine

Community Resource Center

Nov 08, 2011 10:02AM ● By Style

Photo by Dante Fontana

Mary was staring point blank into a situation she never thought possible.

A young, single woman, she suddenly found herself homeless with no job, no family nearby, and with three young children depending on her for food and shelter. Eventually Mary (not her real name) found her way to El Dorado County’s Community Resource Center (CRC). She and her family needed everything – food, showers, laundry, clothing, financial assistance, and most of all, a place where they could feel safe. In a few weeks, she had a job, housing and the promise of better days ahead. “Mary is exactly the kind of person we open our doors for,” says Rene Evans, CRC’s board president. “They need almost everything El Dorado County’s various social services agencies offer, but have no idea how to get the help they need.”

CRC launched in July 2010 to serve as a one-stop place for referrals and resources needed by El Dorado’s homeless and at-risk population. There are more than 75 social services agencies in the county, but each one focuses on a different individual need (food, clothing, counseling, etc.).

Having so many different agencies creates a maze for those most  in need.  Without a guide, it can be frustrating at best, hopeless at worst.

The CRC serves as an entry point into that system and acts as a guide to connect people to the community resources they need most. “We think of ourselves as a triage center where we can assess someone’s situation, get them the help they need right away, and set them on a path to get the additional help they’ll need three months or six months down the road,” Evans says. “Our goal is to help them make a transition back to stability, where they can be productive members of the community.”

El Dorado County has an estimated population of more than 700 homeless individuals and families. In its first year of operation, CRC enrolled 323 clients who went  through an assessment and benefitted from CRC’s long-term guidance. The Center assisted another 100 individuals, but they did not become clients.  

CRC’s services are all funded through a variety of grants from the El Dorado Community Foundation, the Women’s Fund, the Marshall Foundation, and community support from local individuals and organizations. A visit to their Web site might lead to the conclusion that the organization only serves the homeless, but Evans stresses that the Center is open to anyone in need. “Our intention is to help El Dorado County be successful in serving its residents,” she says. We’re here and available on a daily basis to connect people with the resources and services that can help. If you need help and don’t know where to go, come here.”

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