Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

EVERETT — Marcella Wannquist beamed in the salon chair as she admired her freshly cut and braided hair.

She was one of dozens receiving free haircuts and connections to social services at Carnegie Resource Center’s resource fair in Everett last month.

“This is my first haircut in two years, I feel like a beauty queen,” she said. “You have no idea what something as simple as a haircut can do for someone’s morale.”

Wannquist, 56, had walked at least 70 blocks the previous day in search of a place to stay. She found an open bed at the Everett United Church of Christ’s cold weather shelter, where 40 others were spending the night.

In addition to being homeless, Wannquist was coping with a recent breast cancer diagnosis. After her haircut, she met with a navigator to find housing.

“I don’t do drugs, I had a successful career,” Wannquist said. “I just got sick. It can happen to anyone.”

Marcella Wannquist collects a QFC gift card she won during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Marcella Wannquist collects a QFC gift card she won during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Nonprofit Pioneer Human Services runs the resource center at 3001 Oakes Ave. The center, with three full-time employees, connects people with more than 50 job, housing, health care and other programs across Snohomish County. Agencies host pop-ups there on a rotating schedule each month, and walk-ins are always welcome.

“We all have lived experience and empathy,” said Brittany Brenon, one of the three women who work at the center. “We’ve all been on the other side of the desk.”

Last year, Brenon, Shantel Harris and Rebecca Nelson helped almost 4,000 people who called into the center. That number doesn’t include daily walk-ins.

Carnegie Resource Center’s Shantel Harris, Rebecca Nelson and Brittany Brenon (left to right) at the center on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Carnegie Resource Center’s Shantel Harris, Rebecca Nelson and Brittany Brenon (left to right) at the center on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

One of their most popular services is free eyeglasses through New Eyes for the Needy.

“We got 50 people new glasses this week,” Harris said.

Carnegie Resource Center also works with the nearby Snohomish County Diversion Center, a temporary shelter working to keep those with behavioral health issues out of jail and connected to treatment.

“It’s harder than ever to be homeless,” said Chad Hughes, who connected with the resource center after a stay at the diversion center.

Hughes had been homeless for seven years, sleeping in donation bins and under parked RVs — wherever he could find. He was addicted to drugs, but now carries his recovery coins everywhere he goes, attached to his backpack.

Chad Hughes speaks with a couple booth attendants during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Chad Hughes speaks with a couple booth attendants during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

He had enough cash to stay at a motel for a while, but was working with the resource center to find permanent housing and a job.

“I want to work security at Sound Transit,” he said. “I think that job needs empathy, someone who can say, ‘Hey man, I’ve been there, too.’”

Nelson said it’s hard to measure the resource center’s impact, as most people who find the help they need don’t return.

“When they come in and share their progress, it makes it all worth it,” she said.

Find out more

Carnegie Resource Center’s comprehensive guide for resources across Snohomish County can be found at bit.ly/SnoCoResource. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Sydney Jackson: 425-339-3430; sydney.jackson@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @_sydneyajackson.

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