Hendersonville Connections Center will be a community resource center

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Hendersonville is expected to have a new community resource center by the end of the year.

The Hendersonville Connections Center, a new nonprofit, aims to be “a coalition of local organizations providing a central location for case managers and advocates from multiple social service organizations,” according to its website.

Julie Huneycutt, director of Hope Coalition, an addiction and recovery effort, and board member of the Hendersonville Connections Center, said the city needs a place where multiple services can be housed in one location.

“We knew our community needed a place where people could go to meet many needs in one visit, and there were other organizations that had focused on that and closed and left a lot of people without access to services,” Huneycutt said. “We were just looking for more of a one-stop shop, a place where people could access many services under one roof.”

The center is expected to open by the end of 2022 in the Grace Blue Ridge Church warehouse, off Brooklyn Avenue, on Florence Street.

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Grace Blue Ridge senior pastor Chas Morris is the current chairman of the Connections Center board of directors.

He said he first got the idea for an organization like Hendersonville Connections Center when he went to a conference in 2016 and saw another church doing similar work.

“It was really clear that the community was well served by them, so I came back to my leadership and we basically started setting a vision together to do something similar with our church,” Morris said. “We started having town halls in our church and spitting with the congregation what it would be like if we did something like that.”

When Morris was on sabbatical in 2018, Huneycutt invited him to a meeting with other community leaders who were looking to do the same.

“It’s the most dynamic set of leaders I’ve ever seen,” Morris said. “Everyone is extremely gifted and talented and very well connected. Very skilled at what they do, and they love our city and love our people and want to serve the underprivileged.”

According to his website, Hendersonville Connections Center aims to help those “who are having difficulty with their finances, housing, or physical or emotional well-being.”

Huneycutt said the center’s goal is to serve those who need access to a variety of services.

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“We want people to be able to get personal care, we want them to be able to do their laundry, have showers, have storage, have somewhere they can put their mail,” Huneycutt said. “We want people to be able to access job training, housing case management. We want people to be able to have access to WiFi, computers so we can help them with apps for the needs they have .”

To do these things, Hendersonville Connections Center needs funding.

Huneycutt said funding came from a variety of places, including Individual Support, the Dogwood Health Trust and funding from the American Rescue Plan.

Although Huneycutt said COVID-19 has put a lot of things on hold, including construction, they still hope to have an opening date this year.

Both Huneycutt and Morris said the Center would do important work.

“Hopefully with these services under one roof, we can work more closely together to make sure we have the right menu of services for that person and not lose them between maybe accessing a service through the city and a service in three weeks or a service that’s just not available,” Huneycutt said. “We’re hoping to kind of bridge that gap and strengthen the net that would help people and keep them from falling through the cracks. fillet.”

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