New FIRC office opens in Breckenridge
With a fresh coat of green paint, the Summit County Family and Intercultural Resource Center re-purposed the former district attorney’s headquarters into a new Breckenridge office. Last year, FIRC served more than 700 Breckenridge residents in its Silverthorne office, and, with more planned workforce housing for the town, FIRC development director Anita Overmyer noted it was the right time for the addition.
“It was perfect — the fact that it came up at the time it did, the county was willing to work with us on the mortgage, and Breckenridge was willing to help cover part of the cost,” she said. “This will be a lot easier for parents in Breckenridge who need to have their kids in bed by 8.”
Little work was needed to convert the building into its new function. Aside from repainting the walls and bringing in furniture, the rest of the space was ready to go.
“It was so nice we could just buy this and be like, ‘Alright, here we are,’” she added.
Starting at the beginning of March, the Breckenridge location opened a food bank to the public, which is open Mondays and Wednesdays between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Health insurance enrollment assistance is also available at the location by appointment. FIRC’s family support services are also hosted at the new location.
In the future, FIRC hopes to offer all of their existing services at both Breckenridge and Silverthorne, including parenting classes, cooking classes and assisting more local residents with home visits through their Families United program.
In the past, executive director Tamara Drangstveit noted some families would take an hour-long bus ride from Breckenridge to Silverthorne to access FIRC resources.
“There’s poverty in Breckenridge, which a lot of people don’t realize,” she added. “There’s a pretty big gap between what families earn and the cost of living. The vast majority of our clients spend between 40 and 50 percent of their income on housing.”
GRANTED A SPACE
After the district attorney’s office moved into the former site of the South Branch Library, the county sought plans for the vacant space on Airport Road. The county agreed to sell the facility to FIRC for $475,000, taking the program’s many services to the community into account.
Thanks to contributions from the town of Breckenridge, The Summit Foundation, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, EpicPromise and private donors, FIRC was able to raise $100,000 for a down payment. Breckenridge Mayor John Warner quipped that as soon as FIRC approached them to ask for assistance, councilman Gary Gallagher immediately suggested the town contribute $50,000. Breckenridge Grand Vacations owner and developer Mike Dudick made a personal contribution, in addition to his company’s donation.
The Colorado Department of Human Services recently announced FIRC would also receive a Family Support Services grant, which will allow the nonprofit to hire a new family support counselor at the Breckenridge office. Family advocates through the office assist with assessing a family’s strengths and needs, set goals and develop a plan to become more self-sufficient.
The Summit County FIRC was one of ten Family Resource Centers across the state that will be awarded funds under the new grant.
“Family Resource Centers are important community partners, offering multiple programs that help keep children and families safe and strong,” Colorado Department of Human Services Early Childhood director May Anne Snyder said in a statement. “This funding enriches the long-standing public-private partnership that family resource centers exemplify. As families attain their goals and thrive, communities become stronger as well.”
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