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Hopelink to begin hours in North Bend

NORTH BEND - Upper Valley low-income families struggling to make do can soon receive additional assistance as Hopelink, a local organization that provides financial and referral services, plans to begin offering office hours in North Bend.

Hopelink is a non-profit organization that serves hungry and homeless families, seniors and people with disabilities. It has offices in north and east King County, including Carnation, to which clients can go for help.

Tim Lockwood, manager for Hopelink Sno-Valley, said it was time to bring services to North Bend.

"We serve the whole Valley, and at this point, because we are located in Carnation, we don't get as many people the assistance they need, because they don't have anywhere to go [in the Upper Valley]," he said. "The traveling - just doesn't work out for that many people. So that's why we wanted to get an office established up there."

Starting July 9, a Hopelink representative will take appointments every Monday at the King County SheriffOs Office in North Bend, 1550 Boalch Ave. N.W. At first, appointments might only be set up for half of the day, but the goal is to have a full dayOs worth of appointments. Those who would like to make an appointment should call (425) 333-4163.

Cindy Wall, chair of North Bend's Human Services Commission, said the group is pleased North Bend will receive dedicated Hopelink services that will be available to the community on a regular basis.

"This is something that we have been trying to accomplish for some time," she said. "Having Hopelink more easily accessible will expand their ability to better service a variety of needs in the Valley."

Lockwood was searching for space in the Upper Valley when he heard about the sheriffOs office location in North Bend. An agreement was reached between city officials and the King County Sheriff's Office to set aside time for Hopelink to use a room, which will be provided at no cost.

All financial-assistance services, including help with utilities, evictions and utility bills, will be provided at the North Bend office, but Hopelink's food-bank service will only be accessible in Carnation, at 31957 E. Commercial St.

To receive services, clients must establish financial eligibility by setting up an appointment. Once that is done, they can use all services, classes, workshops and other benefits provided by Hopelink.

"[Hopelink can] help them get back on their feet," Lockwood said. "If they access our food bank, that can free up some money for rent or other things; we can help prevent them from being evicted and from getting services, like their power, shut off."

He added that those in need should not hesitate to call if they find themselves in a seemingly impossible financial situation. If Hopelink cannot provide funds, they will refer clients to another agency.

Hopelink currently provides some type of financial assistance to approximately 30 Valley households each month, and Lockwood hopes that number will increase with the new location.

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