Redmond-based human resource center celebrates new name, 20 years of service

Together Center, formerly known as Family Resource Center, celebrated its new name and 20 years of service with a Sept. 24 reception at its downtown Redmond location, 16225 NE 87th St. In a letter of congratulations, Gov. Chris Gregoire stated, "One of the first nonprofit multi-tenant centers in the country, Together Center has established itself a a model of innovation and excellence.

Barbara deMichele (in blue sweater)

Together Center, formerly known as Family Resource Center, celebrated its new name and 20 years of service with a Sept. 24 reception at its downtown Redmond location, 16225 NE 87th St.

In a letter of congratulations, Gov. Chris Gregoire stated, “One of the first nonprofit multi-tenant centers in the country, Together Center has established itself as a model of innovation and excellence. With 18 health, housing and human service agencies available in one location, Together Center increases access to a comprehensive array of needed services, while promoting partnerships, enhancing efficiencies and strengthening the local community as a whole.”

Before Together Center was established, East King County residents had to travel to a multitude of offices to find help in times of crisis. Now they can find numerous resources at one convenient location, including an emergency food bank, medical and dental care, mental health support, support for people with disabilities, counseling for teen parents, homeless teens and much more.

Use of Together Center jumped to a mind-boggling number last year — more than 67,000 East King County residents visited to seek services from agencies such as Hopelink, Friends of Youth, HealthPoint, Youth Eastside Services (YES), Habitat for Humanity, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Eastside and others.

As an example of partnerships with other local organizations, a YES counselor is present at the Old Fire House Teen Center in Redmond twice a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-8 p.m. And on Thursday evenings, YES runs a B-GLAD support group at the Old Fire House, for bisexual, gay or lesbian adolescents.

Staff from YES and the other human service agencies at Together Center welcomed visitors and saluted community heroes at last week’s anniversary event.

“This was one of the first multi-service agencies in the nation, a one-stop hub for human services,” noted Pam Mauk, executive director of Together Center.

“In our first 10 years, about 35,000 people were served. Now, during the last 10 years, we’ve experienced the pressures of major changes,” she added.

These include general population growth in Redmond and the Eastside, cuts to funding for human services and more people needing help because of the economic recession.

“We see huge numbers of formerly middle-class people, former donors, now turning to us,” said Mauk. “And these people have multiple needs. A client may be a domestic violence survivor with a language barrier and no permanent address. They may also need help putting young children into a school. This multi-layered type of service is what we do well here, uniquely.”

Mauk continued, “Our model needs to be on the front burner for all communities. … Our mission is that everyone who comes here looking for help gets the help they need, when they need it.”

To learn more about Together Center, call (425) 869-6699 or visit www.togethercenter.org.

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