Development of Issaquah human services campus inches forward

March 22, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 4:45 p.m. March 22, 2010

Issaquah stands a step closer to opening a human services campus, after a Redmond nonprofit completed a city-funded survey to gauge interest in a campus.

Family Resource Center officials announced the completion of the survey Monday. The nonprofit surveyed 50 organizations; 25 responded and 14 respondents indicated interest in participating in the Issaquah campus.

Officials envision the campus as a clearinghouse where needy people can receive food, healthcare and employment, in a place where several organizations share campus space. Family Resource Center pioneered the model in Redmond 20 years ago.

Of the 14 affirmative responses to the survey, Family Resource Center received two definite responses; six organizations indicated high interest and another six expressed possible interest in the Issaquah campus. The organizations provide services, such as medical care, youth and family counseling, assistance to seniors, emergency services, and help for people with disabilities.

The respondents needed anywhere from 28,000 to 52,000 square feet to conduct operations.

“We asked about the reason agencies want to participate,” Family Resource Center Executive Director Pam Mauk said in a news release. “While all could check multiple answers, and we assume pursuing a new or expanded location relates to real estate needs, we were interested to see that the answer with the most responses was, ‘We would like to participate in a one-stop human services campus.’”

The survey concludes the initial phase in a feasibility study to determine whether a human services campus could be sustained in Issaquah. City Council members OK’d the first step toward a campus in December, by agreeing to spend $35,000 in city money to complete the study.

The study will examine community needs, as well as potential locations for the human services campus.

Nonprofit, business and government leaders formed a group in 2006 to research the creation of a human-services campus.

City Council members included establishment of the campus among nine goals they set for 2010.

Former City Councilman John Rittenhouse — a longtime proponent of the campus — and retired Issaquah School District administrator Margaret Moore serve on the Family Resource Center Board of Directors.

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