Lutheran Community Services to close two local centers

The Lake Stevens service center has been around since 1992; Granite Falls program also to shut down.

LAKE STEVENS — They have been there for those in need.

In Lake Stevens, the clientele was largely families facing any of a number of challenges: a utility bill, help signing up for health insurance, a need for counseling or emergency food supplies, perhaps even diapers.

In Granite Falls, they tended to be single people, sometimes experiencing chronic homelessness and in need of alcohol or drug abuse assessments.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest announced Thursday that it will close its Lake Stevens and Granite Falls community resource centers April 10 because of lost funding. Four other local centers — in Arlington, Lynnwood and two in Everett — remain in operation. Each center has adapted its services to the needs within the community it serves.

The Lake Stevens center has been around for more than two decades. While much of its work was done quietly, it had three fairly visible events each year. Those included giving away back-to-school supplies, coordinating a community-wide Halloween program and organizing a holiday house each December that provided presents for hundreds of children as well as help for families.

Lutheran Community Services was hit hard when United Way changed its focus, which cut funding for some agencies it traditionally supported. That was about one and a half years ago and “we just haven’t been able to get back on our feet,” said Katherine Jordan, director of family services for Lutheran Community Services Northwest. “They were a major funder for us.”

Jordan said her agency is trying to spread the word about the closures to clients and those who can help them, including city governments, schools, libraries and food banks. It is also suggesting people needing help with housing call 211, a help line for social services.

Lake Stevens was one of the first two support centers Lutheran Community Services started in Snohomish County. It opened in 1992, as did the Family Support Center of South Snohomish County in Lynnwood. The South Everett Neighborhood Center followed in 1996. Familias Unidas Latino Resource Center in Everett started in 2000.

The Granite Falls Family Support Center has been around since September 2012 and the Arlington Community Resource Center opened after that.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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