Auburn Community Resource Center gets much-needed boost

Congresswoman Schrier secures $500,000 for build-out of facility.

The goal of the Auburn Community Resource Center at 2814 Auburn Way North has always been to provide wrap-around services like housing and food assistance and medication-assisted treatment for substance-use disorders.

On April 14, city officials and service providers gathered in the at-present bare-bones center to thank U.S. Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-District 8) in person for recently securing $500,000 from the federal budget for the resource center’s further development.

“I came into this (position) three years ago, but this goal of providing wrap-around services … has been going on longer because of the passion of the people of Auburn,” Schrier said. “It was really a pleasure to work for a few years together, and then have this project come up, and an opportunity for the federal government to say we want to help with a really important community project that is so clearly beneficial to the people of the city of Auburn.”

The funding for the Community Resource Center is part of the Community Project Funding program and was among a number of Schrier’s priorities she secured in the bipartisan government funding bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in March. The funding will be used for the design and construction of the Consolidated Resource Center to build out facilities to help those in need access addiction resources, housing placement, mental health assistance, employment services and restorative justice pathways.

“Instead of having this open concept, there will be office space, classroom space and meeting spaces. It will no longer be just a bare shell,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus.

In a typical year, funds simply flow from the federal government to the state, from the state to the cities and the counties and beyond. But this year, Schrier said, a special provision allowed members of Congress to direct some of the money directly to projects in their districts that were important to the community.

“It’s a very small part of the overall government budget, but it’s a really important part because the state may not know anything about this resource center,” Schrier said. “This is one of these really special community projects.”

Backus called Schrier “an advocate and friend to the city of Auburn even before her election,” noting that Schrier has been in the center space numerous times to understand the needs in the community.

“She has requested the $500,000 for us to be able to do the build-out here to help even more of the people in this community. We’re so thankful for her leadership and her courage in asking for this funding,” said Backus. “It’s not always an attractive type of project, but it’s one that is so necessary and needed in this community and will help more people because of it.”

Backus said the architect has already designed the space and the design has been approved.

“It’s whenever we can get builders ready to do the construction, I would like to think we’re underway this year. I don’t know the specific timeline yet, but I’m sure it will begin this year,” Backus said.