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Woodburn received a Community Development Block Grant that will enable the city to partner with Love INC while enhancing area social services

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF WOODBURN - The envisioned Family Resrouce Center will be located at 970 N. Cascade Drive, Woodburn, and will house Love INC and a handful of other social service providers.Nonprofit human services just received a huge boost in Woodburn this week.

The city of Woodburn announced that it was awarded a $1.5 million Oregon Community Development Block Grant, for which it applied earlier this year while envisioning the creation of a Family Resource Center.

The city partnered with Love INC in the endeavor. The Family Resource Center is intended to house the local nonprofit while providing space for other nonprofits that serve the greater Woodburn area.

The center will be located at 970 N. Cascade Drive, providing a centralized point to guide families and people in need to resources that can assist them.

"Kudos to our city manager and staff for developing this project. It is a great example of innovative funding and partnerships that will directly help the most at risk in our community," Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson said in the announcement.

City Administrator Scott Derickson said earlier this year that city staff was entering new territory. He told Woodburn City Council that they sought examples or templates to pattern their grant application after, but none were to be had.

"As far as I know, this is the first undertaking of this type of a project in Oregon," Derickson told the council in March. "We have asked for templates and for other applicants who have funded similar projects in the past, and we couldn't find any."

Love INC co-Executive Director Curt Jones agreed.

"This is certainly not common for a city to partner with social services to provide these resources to the community, and we're grateful for the innovation, vision and persistence of (Woodburn) to make this happen," Jones told the city.

Love INC is designated to oversee operations, and the plan estimates that another half-dozen social services may be housed at the center, eliminating the need for people to travel to Salem or Portland to get those services.

City sources describe it as a "hub" where the variety of social services available may include advocacy for victims of child abuse or domestic violence, literacy, homelessness, senior and migrant worker services, mental health support, and similar referrals.

Love INC's directors, Jones and Bill Park, have said that one challenge of Woodburn's most salient social-service provider is that it provides specific aid, and many who come to Love INC's doors need to be referred to other social-service entities, some of which are out of town. Having a viable facility in Woodburn that can house more of those social services may serve as a lure to bring ancillary branches of them into town.

"We are thrilled that we're going to be able to provide a shared space for nonprofits and other agencies to be able to have a presence in Woodburn," Park said following the CDBG announcement.

The CDBG was issued through the state of Oregon, but it is funded via money from the Federal Department of Housing & Urban Development.


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