South Park Information and Resource Center Programs
SPIARC serves as a neighborhood hub where community members can connect with one another, groups, projects and obtain access to information and resources. More than 800 people visit the information center each year and as the SPIARC staff and our organizational capacity continues to develop we expect this number to grow.
SPIARC staff and volunteers help people to navigate various issues regardless of language, literacy, computer literacy/access, or other circumstances. When possible, we provide direct assistance on issues that can be easily navigated from the Center. Some of these include resumes and employment application assistance, translation and interpretation services. In other cases we direct customers to outside services and resources, like energy-payment assistance, medical, dental and mental health resources, housing and shelter programs, Immigration and legal resources, child care resources, meal programs, senior programs,you name it. We offer important links to community groups and regional service providers like Sea Mar, Consejo, Seattle Public Library, Concord International Elementary, South Park Community Center, South Park Neighborhood Center, South Park Neighborhood Association, South Park Business Association, South Park Merchants Association, South Park Arts, etc.
SPIARC continues to partner with other agencies to provide English conversation, basic English and computer literacy classes to residents connecting them with local volunteers.
Through a recently awarded grant, we have begun to establish a women's group focused on leadership, community support and resource sharing.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
SPIARC serves many needs on a small budget and we utilize our funding very efficiently. Over the past 2 years, we have seen an increase of 300% in clients served. Further, we have increased our hours to include Saturdays to more effectively meet the needs of our clients. We would appreciate your support to help ensure that we can continue to provide free multi-lingual resources for the residents of South Park and surrounding areas. Our services include, but are not limited to the following:
- We connect low-income residents to state and federal benefits. SPIARC coordinates and fosters several relationships with regional programs that provide access to state and federal benefits as well as tax credits.
- We connect our residents to CenterStone (formerly C.A.M.P.), Utility Discount Program and People Point and provide onsite registration for these programs.
- SPIARC continues to partner with other agencies to provide English conversation, basic English and computer literacy classes to residents connecting them with local volunteers.
- New programs are focusing on women and their families gaining new skills for jobs and connecting them to others in the community. Through a recently awarded grant, we have begun to establish a women's group focused on leadership, community support and resource sharing.
- SPIARC hosts People Point's Washington Connection program where staff and volunteer specialists help low income individuals and families discover and sign up for social services for which they are eligible.
- We assist low income individuals in finding employment, earning higher wages, furthering education, and obtaining better quality jobs. SPIARC facilitates open access to job forms and applications. Clients who visit the Center are able to research and apply for a variety of employment opportunities and receive help with applications, resumes, online forms, and translation/interpretation assistance.
- SPIARC has also become an important resource for homeless or transitional families and individuals. We provide multiple links to community-based food banks and meals on wheels programs as well as referrals for shelters and clothing banks.
- We also serve as a community hub weaving people together to form partnerships in an effort to help reduce duplication of services, projects and programs, and build community. We compile a monthly calendar of neighborhood events which we then distribute using the South Park ListServ, the West Seattle blog and various key locations within the community.
- Through the help of community volunteers, we have been able to reach out to our Vietnamese-speaking community to provide them with resources.
- We have been able to expand our advisory board membership from 7 to 11, to include key advisors from the greater Seattle area. We also have a graduate student from the University of Washington conducting her Social Work Practicum at the center. She provides direct service to clients and develops programs that incorporate concepts of social work to benefit the community.
Finding sustainable funding sources is our largest challenge. Recent cuts to the city budget threatens the closure of the center, as our funding will be drastically cut. Any support or contribution is very important to our continued operation. Please help us to continue to provide programs and resources to the South Park community.