DSHS serves 25 Orcas households from its mobile office

The DSHS mobile office on Orcas last week.  - Colleen Smith Armstrong/Staff Photo
The DSHS mobile office on Orcas last week.
— image credit: Colleen Smith Armstrong/Staff Photo

The Department of Social Health and Services brought its mobile office to the San Juans last week, helping community members signs up for benefits.

On Orcas, the mobile unit, which is based in Olympia and serves rural towns, was set up in the Orcas Community Church parking lot. It is the first time DSHS has brought its office to Orcas.

A total of 25 households were served. Both families and individuals signed up for help with food, cash, medical treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, and child care.

“I think this is great for our first visit and the fact that our advertising was so last minute,” said DSHS outreach specialist Cres Perez. “This particular trip, we experienced firsthand the uncertainty of living on an island and having to rely on the ferry system. At the beginning of our trip, the ferry from Anacortes was delayed almost one hour ... I heard that many people had used their lunch time so they could meet with us ...however, not one person was upset with us – they understood why we were late.”

One of the mobile unit’s goals is to reach underserved populations and also get to communities that have difficulty reaching a stationary offices.

“This is exactly why we love our trips to the San Juan Islands,” Perez said. “Everyone is so gracious, kind and appreciative of the services that we are bringing to the community, it makes the long hours and busy days just that much easier.”

DSHS will be making another trip to the San Juans in January.


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