Economy blamed for referral agency closure

April 11, 2011 3:37:06 PM PDT
(04/11/11) -- The tough economy has had an effect on a lot of businesses, including non-profit organizations.After decades in operation, a longtime Mid-Michigan non-profit will close its doors.

IARC, which stands for Intake, Assessment and Referral center, screens people for substance abuse and mental health problems, then refers them to the proper agency for help. The company has been doing the job for 40 years, but times have changed, and that change is forcing organizations like IARC to figure out better, less-expensive ways to provide services.

"Change is hard. Honestly, when it comes to running a non-profit business, there are some realities in Genesee County. We are much smaller than we used to be," IARC Executive Director Linda Bielskis said.

Bielskis has been the IARC executive director for the last three years. The agency set up its 1,300 square-foot facility located on Court Street in May 2009 after moving from Flint Township.

IARC serves about 7,000 clients every year. About 60 percent of those clients come to the agency through various court referrals. The rest are voluntarily or referred by family members.

The agency had no volunteers. About 10 therapists with masters degrees in mental health worked at IARC. All will lose their jobs.

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