Funding struggles cut summer hours, computer lab

Funding pressures have forced the Community Resource Centre (CRC) to reduce its hours to an appointment-only model over the summer, and to shut down its popular computer lab for the foreseeable future. However, the Centre will return to operating drop-in hours and workshops in the fall.

The non-profit CRC serves as a point of first contact for Coast residents with a wide range of questions or problems - many of them financial or legal.

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"The mission of the organization is to inform, refer, educate and empower one person at a time in the community," said executive director Sue Longhi, adding that the CRC often serves as a referral service, connecting clients to the Coast-based agency most able to respond to their needs.

Longhi said the organization - which has just moved from a Trail Avenue location to 5674 Teredo St. - had to stop drop-in hours over the summer due to a funding squeeze, but is currently operating on a by-appointment basis in its new location. The phone number, 604-885-4088, remains unchanged.

Funding pressures have also forced the Centre to shut down its drop-in computer lab for the foreseeable future, said CRC director Karen Archer.

"We were the go-to place for computer access, so for people who couldn't afford or didn't have a computer, we had a computer lab," she said. "And I think the community - the people who used that service - are truly missing that service."

Archer said the Centre is hoping to fund some more computer classes going forward.

Longhi said, despite these challenges, the bulk of CRC's programming will resume in the fall, with the organization reinstituting drop-in hours, Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as well as continuing to offer appointments.

The Centre's pro bono lawyer service - which provides half-hour appointments free of charge with volunteer lawyers to people who don't have the funds to access legal advice - will also continue.

Likewise in the fall, Archer said, workshops, many of them financial, legal, or computer-related, will resume, though the Centre may need to charge a minimum donation for workshops where funders aren't available. Archer added that, going forward, the CRC will rely more heavily on professional volunteers in the community to deliver workshops, rather than bringing in expensive outside expertise.

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