KENNEWICK -- Homeless Tri-Citians soon will have a place where they can go during the day for a shower, to do laundry or just get some help.
Therapeutic Innovations & Recovery is opening this month in Kennewick as the area's first homeless day shelter. It will be called Ken and Teresa's Place.
The idea is to build relationships and trust with people who are homeless, said Cindy Fransen, clinical director of the fledgling nonprofit.
Getting homeless people connected to resources can help them recover from life crises or trauma associated with losing their home or job, as well as issues such as mental health and substance abuse.
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Someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless isn't required to participate in any program to receive help and they won't be charged for any services at the drop-in center, said Fransen's husband, Steve Gaulke, executive director of Therapeutic Innovations & Recovery.
"We are here to offer support," he said.
The shelter is named after Ken and Teresa, a couple who struggled with homelessness. Ken suggested the need for a hygiene center and volunteered his time to get a place going in Yakima about five years ago, Gaulke said.
The day shelter is being made possible through a $30,000 grant from Benton County.
It is one of the affordable housing projects in line to receive grants from a $10 increase in county document recording fees that the state Legislature approved in 2002.
The grant won't be official until Benton County commissioners approve a contract with the nonprofit.
The day shelter can be paid for using the document recording fees because it falls into the category of an emergency shelter, said Ed Thornbrugh, bicounty Department of Human Services administrator.
The drop-in day shelter can help individuals move toward finding what they need and reduce the person's risk of homelessness in the future, he said.
A significant number of homeless individuals have more than one problem, such mental illness or substance abuse, and they may have had trouble using traditional channels to get help, he said.
Starting this month, the shelter is expecting to get a $100,800 subcontract from the Consolidated Homeless Grant, which will help with operations.
The 1,800-square-foot shelter will be at 3311 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick and will need to be remodeled to add bathrooms, a shower and laundry facilities.
There also will be a small kitchen and a resource room with computers, tables, phones and several private meeting rooms.
The remodel will cost about $15,000 to $20,000, and will be included in the agency's rent to Thurston Properties, which has worked with the group to make the project possible.
In the meantime, a temporary center will open first in a nearby unit in the same complex.
All the services, except for showers, will be available. And people will get coupons to go to nearby Clearwater Coin Laundry.
They expect to see about 20 to 30 people per day, Gaulke said.
Fransen said they will offer educational sessions about issues such as managing stress and money, and there will be peer-support groups.
Twice a week, brief solution-focused therapy will be offered, said Fransen, a licensed clinical social worker, to help people identifying their most immediate problems.
Gaulke said they want to fill the gap between services now offered in the Tri-Cities.
They are partnering with others, including the bachelor of social work program at Heritage University and Columbia Basin College, Fransen said.
The day shelter will be open from 7 a.m. to noon on weekdays and Saturdays with a focus on single people and couples, and from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays focusing on families, Gaulke said.
As part of Therapeutic Innovations & Recovery Plus, Fransen will offer clinical services to anyone in the community. She is a certified specialist with behavior management and counseling for disabled adults and children, and has a contract with the state Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Development Disabilities. She also is a Medicare provider.
That helps them diversify the nonprofit's funding sources, Gaulke said.
Therapeutic Innovations & Recovery is also seeking donations. They need T-shirts and sweatpants, essential care items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, sanitary napkins, cosmetics, nail polish and lotion, office supplies and a children's table and chairs and toys. Financial donations also are welcomed.
For more information, call 572-2224 or email email@example.com. Volunteers can come to an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the temporary center, 3311 W. Clearwater Ave., D-110.