This e-mail arrived yesterday:
With sadness, I wish to inform you that Samaritan Counseling Centers of Portland will be closing its doors on February 28, 2009. Our closure is due to the negative effects of this economic time and the reality that needed donations to subsidize care for those with less just isn't available.
Clients of the agency will be notified throughout the month of February. Most classes scheduled for the month will be held despite the closure. Many current staff will be ramping down their practices here and moving on to new locations as private providers. Others will be seeking work with other institutions. To all, we send our kindest thoughts for success.
"We fought the good fight with a mission that is meaningful and necessary but we just haven't been able to weather these tough economic times," said Board Chair Mike Stastny. "Roughly 50% of the agency budget is from federal sources, 30% from donations and 20% from fees. We have not been able to realize these funds as there just isn't much extra (money) floating around in the community."
Michael Sorensen, MPA, will volunteer to assist existing staff with the agency's closure, ending his 3 plus years as the agency executive director.
Samaritan Counseling Centers has had a 25 year history of providing mental health care, pastoral counseling and skill building education to the greater Portland Metropolitan community. Thousands of children, individuals and families are healthier today because we have been here to help.
Samaritan Counseling Center has played a special role in the life of Portland for many years. The program was supported largely by churches and many of the therapists also had background as clergy. They understood that a healthy spiritual life was important for those seeking good mental health. I referred parishioners to SCC and I used their services myself after my father's death.
The closure of this important agency points to the growing lack of mental health care in our community and how the economic crisis is impacting non-profits. We're going to see more of this, I'm afraid.