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julio 26, 2016

Housing for the Homeless: MNRC Plays Critical Role in San Francisco Navigation Center Pilot

homelessMission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC), a part of Mission Neighborhood Health Center dedicated to serving the homeless, has reason to celebrate these days. A recent assessment of the first year of operation of the San Francisco Navigation Center for which MNRC was a critical collaborator has garnered national attention as an exemplary model of how to approach the homeless crisis in America.

The San Francisco Navigation Center began operations in March 2015 as a pilot program designed to shelter and find housing for San Francisco’s difficult‐to‐serve homeless population. The Navigation Center is a partnership of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE), Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC). The pilot derives its name from the desire to “navigate” unsheltered adults into permanent housing to improve their lives. Funding was seeded by a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor.

“In December 2014, we were asked to participate in the design of the pilot as a critical collaborator,” said Laura Guzman, Director of MNRC. “The pilot has become a model nationwide and we have had visitors from across the country including the Obama administration who are seeking out advice on how to expand it in other states.” After the design was developed, MNRC responded to the RFP issued and was chosen to be one of the inaugural partners.

The goal of the Navigation Center’s first year was to provide room and board up to 75 individuals and their pets while case managers connect them to stable income, public benefits and permanent housing. As of May 2016 – 15 months into the pilot, 142 Navigation Center Participants were placed in supportive permanent housing, far exceeding the original goal of 75 for the first year. Eight percent of MNRC’s total clients, who have severe barriers to housing due to linguistic and cultural differences and immigration status, were among those placed.

MNRC is a key referral source along with SFHOT – the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team. Referrals from both sources were fairly equal with MNRC referring primarily Latino participants and contributing its unique culturally linguistic approach as well as having the backing of the infrastructure of its homeless center.

“We are very proud of our participation in this important step to address homelessness both locally and nationally,” added Ms. Guzman, “and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the key constituents here in San Francisco to improve the lives of our un-housed communities.

For more information on the San Francisco Navigation Center, click here.

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