Over 30 years ago the Northeast Community Center was literally a field…
In 1980, the site where The Northeast Community Center now stands was a “field of dreams” for Northeast neighbors. Although the period was a particularly difficult economic time, Citizens of Northeast Spokane were able to convince City officials that bringing services together under one roof would enable a high level of collaboration among service providers and support neighbors in their efforts to be self-sufficient.
In 1982, the Center opened its doors. Six agencies operated in the newly constructed space under a collaborative model that maximized the effectiveness of the available resources and became a nationally recognized model for delivery of human services. Most of the early partners continue as a part of the collaboration today.
As the model of service matured, neighbors began to see the Community Center as a HUB of activity. Committees from various neighborhood organizations and planning groups met in the Center. The Greater Hillyard Business Association, the Hillyard Neighborhood Council, COPS- Northeast and the Hillyard Skate Park all trace their roots to meetings in the facility.
In the early 1990’s the Hillyard Steering Committee took the lead in addressing the needs of low-income seniors who wanted to stay in the neighborhood but could no longer manage the upkeep of their large homes. Partnering with Saint John’s Properties, a 40-unit addition to Winchester Court, HUD subsidized apartments for seniors was constructed to wrap around the Center.
During this same period, the Spokane Public Library won support in a bond issue to build new Library facilities. In Hillyard, the new branch library was built on the campus of the Northeast Community Center.
Head Start established classrooms in the Center and the demand for medical services outpaced the capacity of the small existing clinic. Responding to the opportunity to better serve families, the Board of NECCA undertook its first major expansion, adding 5,000 square feet to the existing facility.
By the later years of the decade, families who needed to work were struggling to find Child Care. With many Northeast households headed by single parents and even more households supported by two working parents, the NECCA Board, Head Start, and SPOC launched efforts to construct an 8400 square foot addition to provide quality child care services…
By the year 2005, the need for medical services and programs for middle school youth led the NECCA board to the bold step of launching another large expansion. This was, in their view, a crucial step in supporting families as they strive to become and remain self-sufficient.
In January of 2011, Riverstone Family Health Clinic became a part of the Northeast Community Center, opening both an affordable health care clinic designed to meet the needs of the entire family and a full-service dental clinic. The Spokane District Dental Society Foundation folded their IDEA clinic into the program to expand the available offerings. Planning is underway to establish programs for middle school age youth in the lower level of the recently completed facility.
Currently, the Board of the Northeast Community Center is assessing the issues faced by those that live and work in the area. What they learn will guide their planning for the work of the Community Center for the next decade, when the need for services is anticipated to grow and new sources of revenue will be needed to meet those needs.
With the opening of a new medical clinic in January, low-income and uninsured families gained access to affordable health care. Just a few months later, a full-service dental clinic began seeing patients on the second level of the new facility. In April, the community joined the Board of the Center, area dignitaries, and donors, to celebrate the opening of the recently completed 31,000 square foot facility. The Center now enters the fourth phase of this expansion, building out the lower level of the new facility and modifying space within the original building for early childhood learning, pharmacy services, support activities and other services that can help families achieve their goals.