The SFDC is partnering with three non-profits that provide services to the homeless.
Navigation Center – Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco
The Navigation Center, which opened in March 2015, is a successful pilot program designed to shelter and rapidly house San Francisco’s highly vulnerable and long-term homeless residents who are often fearful of accessing traditional shelters and services. One of their locations has been operating at 1950 Mission Street for a year, we’ll open the second at Civic Center Hotel, and discussing a third in the Dogpatch neighborhood.
The Navigation Center provides these otherwise unsheltered San Franciscans room and board while case managers work to connect them to stable income, public benefits, health services and permanent housing. The Navigation Center is supported by a collaborative team of City departments—Human Services Agency, Department of Public Health, and San Francisco Public Works—as well as the Mayor’s Office of HOPE. Due to its relatively small size, high staffing level, and coordinated City response team, the Navigation Center maintains a tranquil environment for clients, staff and neighbors. Navigation Centers are different from traditional shelters in that they are low-threshold and have an intensive focus on housing placements. Unlike traditional shelters, people with partners, pets and possessions are welcome at Navigation Centers. Additionally Navigation Centers do not have curfews or strict meal times which make them more attractive to people living on the streets. Unlike traditional shelter, the purpose of a Navigation Center is not just to provide a safe place to stay and a warm meal, but is to support a person in changing their lives by making lasting connections to housing and social services. The success of the Navigation Centers depend on the housing placements made upon exit from the center.
ECS is now accepting donations through an Amazon Wish List (click here for the list) to help homeless pets and their needs.
Veterinary Street Outreach Services (VetSOS) – San Francisco
Each year over 800 companion animals of homeless San Franciscans receive free veterinary care from Vet SOS, and over 50 of their guardians are linked to human health services. Each year over 125 animals living on our city’s streets are spayed or neutered through this established outreach. Operating since 2001, Vet SOS is a project of SFCCC’s Street Outreach Services program. Vet SOS provides free pop-up veterinary clinics 12 times per year using volunteer staffing and a specially equipped mobile outreach van. They directly go to homeless people and meet them on their own turf. The Vet SOS team builds relationships of trust and break down the barriers that keep homeless people and their companion animals from the care they need and deserve. Their services include: reduce pet overpopulation, decrease the spread of infectious disease, improve the health of companion animals of homeless San Franciscans, and provide health information and referrals to homeless San Franciscans. VET SOS is operated by the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, in partnership with: Pets Are Wonderful Support, Pets Unlimited, SF Animal Care and Control, SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and SF Veterinary Medical Association.
To help with this important work please visit their donation page here.
Lava Mae – Mobile Showers for the Homeless of San Francisco
America’s nearly 600,000 homeless people often don’t have a clean place to clean up. San Francisco, where the number of homeless has risen seven percent in the last decade, a non-profit organization is putting bathrooms on wheels and driving them to those in need. The group Lava Mae, whose name loosely translates to “wash me” in Spanish, is retrofitting decommissioned city buses with ensuite bathrooms and bringing them into neighborhoods like the Castro, the Mission, and the Tenderloin, currently providing about 200 showers each week. Lave Mae’s founder, Doniece Sandoval, first became interested in the issue in 2012, when she passed a young woman under an overpass near the San Francisco Design Center who was repeating over and over to herself that she’d never get clean. “It made me wonder what her chances were,” said Sandoval, who was then inspired to research exactly how many public shower stalls existed in the city. Her findings were disheartening: just 16 stalls for the estimated 3,500 people who sleep on the streets any given night. “I started to ask myself, if you can put gourmet food on wheels and take it anywhere, why not have mobile showers and toilets?” Sandoval said. Those words, a desire to help those experiencing homelessness, and a crazy obsession with the mobile food truck movement set in motion what eventually became Lava Mae. Started by private citizens who believe that access to showers and toilets shouldn’t be a luxury, Lava Mae seeks to serve those who lack access to what should be basic human rights – showers and sanitation.
SFDC has stage baskets at the Galleria and Showplace concierge desks where you can donate travel-sized toiletries to stock Lava Mae’s mobile showers. You can also make monetary donations to Lava Mae here.