The start of the new year has ushered in change for the Community Lifeline Center (CLC).
The McKinney-based non-profit organization was closed from Dec. 11 to Jan. 2 as they moved into a new building at 1601 W. University Dr., Suite B, approximately one mile from their previous location.
So why the move? Jaymie Pedigo, the development director, said it was time to expand.
"We've had a 75% increase in clients since 2008," she said. "In 2012, we served 2,000 primary clients. One client equals one household."
How small was the old location? A small lobby and limited parking for starters.
"The lobby was not big enough," Pedigo said. "On a Monday, we'd have 12 people, most waiting outside in the heat or rain. We had four parkings spaces and no public restrooms."
For CLC, change was needed and change has been good. In the old location, case managers had to share an office and could only interview one at a time.
"The old building was not conducive to confidentiality," Pedigo said.
CLC now has a private intake room and private offices.
"Each case manager can conduct interviews at the same time," she said. "Now it's twice as fast."
CLC has also upgraded their technology.
"We integrated a new phone system," Pedigo said. "For the first time in 23 years, a client can call and leave a private message for the manager.
"The client can do more online. They can take pictures of documents and upload to a private portal instead of having to bring it all in and risk losing it. On so many levels, it is more dignified, professional and empowers the client to start their recovery on their own."
Pedigo said it was challenging with limited technology.
"We had to use our own cellphones for business because we didn't want to tie up a line," she said. "We never had voice mail or an individual extension."
With the new improvements, CLC has bold goals for 2013. They want to develop two major donor bases, one individual and one private corporations.
"The economy has impacted our client growth over a reduction in donations," Pedigo said. "Private grant funding has been affected by the economy."
In addition to helping meet clients needs, Community Lifeline Center offers many free classes, including parenting, job skills, computer training and interview skills.
"50% of our budget goes to client eduction, which is free to them but not free to us," Pedigo said.
CLC strives to address the needs of people by focusing on other areas.
"We don't want to duplicate the efforts of others," Pedigo said. "We help in emergency situations, getting a person from point A to point B and move them toward success."
The new location also has a larger supply room with ability to store more products.
"We need the stuff not covered by food stamps or available at the food pantry," Pedigo said. "We need diapers, formula, cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene and more things like that."
If you want to find out more about the Community Lifeline Center, you are invited to visit them during their ribbon cutting and open house on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Call them at 972-542-0020 for more information or visit their website at communitylifeline.org.