Growing concerns from the community have forced leaders of the New Hope Resource Center to make significant changes to the downtown Puyallup homeless resource center.
Since reopening May 15, the center has established what it calls “enhancements to the code of conduct” to balance the needs of the individuals it serves while keeping the community safe.
“We want to engage people, and hold them accountable,” executive director Cheryl Borden said. “We don’t want to be so restrictive that we can’t help, but also (make sure we’re) not enabling. We’re hoping we’ve struck a happy medium.”
One of the biggest changes debuting at New Hope Resource Center is the implementation of a 60-day initial service participation period. Within two weeks after the initial screening process, guests are required to complete an action plan with volunteers or staff at the center.
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“Individual goals are identified and recorded in the plan at that time with periodic follow-up throughout the 60-day service period,” a document released by the center states about its enhancements. “Continued participation in New Hope Resource Center services beyond the 60-day period will be evaluated based upon progress with established goals.”
Guests who do not show progress of working on their goals or following through with resources will not be allowed to utilize New Hope’s day shelter, according to the document.
“We want to create an opportunity to make progress towards breaking down the barriers to permanent housing,” said Ric Rose, the former executive director of the center. “We consider this New Hope 2.0, in a sense. We want to improve our services and relationships.”
Since re-opening, staff and volunteers decided to re-screen all past guests of the center to ensure all involved understand its new code of conduct.
“Our average attendance since reopening is 33 people a day,” Borden said. “An addition, four people didn’t like the new code of conduct and declined, and four others were trespassed from the property.”
Rose says since the building was red tagged in March, the center’s budget has increased 50 percent to pay for needed repairs and changes to the center’s operations, something officials are trying to augment with donations and by increasing the number of volunteers at the drop-in center.