Charlotte’s newest community resource center is now open in northeast Charlotte.
The Ella B. Scarborough Community Resource Center soft opened in August, but its official ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony is set for Oct. 25.
The center’s mission is to connect residents with multiple services from the Mecklenburg County Department of Health and Human Services and community partners, such as Atrium Health and Loaves and Fishes.
The center was named after local political figure Ella B. Scarborough, the first Black woman elected to Charlotte City Council in 1987 as the District 3 representative.
Scarborough’s legacy includes being an active member of the Charlotte community as a local trailblazer, the first Black woman to run for mayor of Charlotte and United States Senate in N.C. She died at age 75 in May 2022.
The Scarborough Center offers several federal and local resources, including WIC, Medicaid and energy assistance like heating and cooling needs or electricity, to Mecklenburg County residents at one accessible location.
Rather than have services spread out across multiple places in the county, residents can find all their needs together at the Scarborough Center.
“The goal is to meet the needs of the community in a holistic way, which is why it’s not just government services, it’s also our community partner services,” Anthony Trotman, deputy county manager, said.
The center serves insured, underinsured and uninsured residents of the county. Some services, like WIC and Medicaid, require eligibility.
The facility is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The center will address six determinants of health: economic stability, education, food security, housing security, healthcare and social and community.
Trotman says focusing on these aspects can help prevent other health concerns.
“Without proper nutrition, proper health care, it’s difficult to work,” Trotman said.
The Scarborough Center prioritizes the dignity and privacy of clients through nontraditional features, such as offering electronic check-in to remove lengthy lines usually found at government entities.
Trotman says the space is designed to be trauma-informed to make clients more comfortable.
“[The center] looks more like a neighborhood, like a home,” Trotman said. “That’s because we want people to feel at ease when they come into our facility. We want them to be treated like they should be treated, like residents of Mecklenburg County.”
Free childcare is also provided while families receive services at the center.
The Ella B. Scarborough Community Resource Center is currently one of two community resource centers in Charlotte.
The first, Valerie C. Woodard Center at 3205 Freedom Drive, opened in 2018.
As the needs of the community continue to be monitored and addressed, Troutman said the hours at the Ella B. Scarborough Center could be expanded.
Over the next few years, the City of Charlotte plans to build three more community resource centers, Troutman told QCity Metro, near Beatties Ford Raod and on the east of Charlotte, generally within the crescent of poverty in Charlotte.
“The goal was to place facilities in neighborhoods where the need exists at the most, to make sure that people didn’t have to drive all over Charlotte or Mecklenburg County to receive services,” Trotman said. “They can receive services in their communities.”