Small Town News

Local Government

North Mason County Resource moves to new location

Belfair Herald of Belfair, Washington

- Advertisement -

North Mason County Resource opened in March 2010 as a way to provide a variety of services in one location to residents of the

Belfair area.

On April 1, two years after opening, the organization moved to a new location, at 140 N.E. State Route 300, across the street from the Belfair QFC.

"We were looking for ways to reduce costs — we also knew we needed to have a place that was easier for our disabled customers to get in," said Tom Armstrong, executive director and CEO of North Mason County Resource.

Armstrong said the organization was able to negotiate a lower lease for their new building, which is 2,700 square feet on one floor.

This is more than 1,000 square feet more than it had before, in Belfair's Lincoln Center, where it had two floors, one with 700 square feet and another with 800 square feet.

The non-profit organization needed to find a cheaper building after it lost $25,000 of funding for 2012 that it normally receives from Mason County's 2163 fund, which is designated for homeless prevention.

With a total yearly budget of $54,000 and no paid staff, North Mason County Resource lost almost half of its funding for 2012.

The organization has applied for grants to try to make up for the lost funds, and will continue to organize fundraisers and accept donations from the community.

"We have applied for quite a few grants and will continue to do so," Armstrong said. "Whatever it takes, to not give handouts, but to give support to our community."

Armstrong led the push to create the non-profit soon after moving to Belfair Community Baptist Church's community Thanksgiving dinner in 2009.

At the dinner, Armstrong said he met a woman and her children who were living in the woods around Bel-fair.

"That shocked me," he said. "As I began to explore the community I found the need was greater than I anticipated."

Local churches helped raise funds, and by March 2010, North Mason County Resource opened as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Now the building hosts a Work-Source office, DSHS representatives, a homeless advocate, a Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Veterans Affairs (VA) representative, a Behavioral Health Resources (BHR) office and the newly formed Community Food Pantry.

Last year, through case management alone, North Mason Resource served 2,996 people, Armstrong said.

"We see a lot of people through here," he said. "We're kind of like a hospital for the community's needs - if you come here for assistance we can hook you up with somebody else."

North Mason Resource also can offer laundry or fuel vouchers to qualifying clients, help with prescription medication costs, counsel clients on financial matters and refer them to other area services.

Last year, the organization helped keep 54 families in their homes through the Making Home Affordable program, a federal program through the departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development that helps families avoid foreclosure.

North Mason County Resource has scheduled an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 12.

"It'll be a really cool ... day when people can come by and tour the facility," Armstrong said.

Copyright 2012 Belfair Herald, Belfair, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 12, 2012

More from Belfair Herald