When facing homelessness, there are more challenges than simply a lack of housing. Those who are unsheltered may also require help finding employment, getting their birth certificates, or seeking mental health treatment. However, the new Navigation Center will allow shelter guests to access these services easily so they may stabilize, move forward, and make positive life changes.
“The Navigation Center is an 85-bed shelter,” said Donnie Harper, who is the Shelter Manager. “It is a hub for resources and will eliminate shelter guests from having to travel to multiple sites to receive services.” It will achieve this by bringing together numerous community partners who will offer a variety of services on-site.
According to Donnie, one of the goals of the Navigation Center is to get the guests more involved with a case manager, who could help them obtain their identification, find employment, or complete housing applications. “We are a program of progression,” said Donnie. “Guests may start at the bottom, but we will help them navigate any obstacles and get the proper help.”
One of the best parts of the Navigation Center is that it houses families, with a designated area just for that. It will offer families safety, shelter, and the services to help them stabilize and move forward. “We are proud of that because we really want to help get children off the street,” said Donnie.
With the advent of the Navigation Center, the old Kelly Shelter will now become a year-round severe weather shelter. In previous years, when anticipating extreme high or low temperatures, places such as churches would set aside a few days during the inclement weather to house people. Now, the Kelly Shelter will take over that responsibility and will be run by ACCESS.
The Navigation Center has many benefits, but having community partners and services onsite is a game changer. Guests will no longer have to be sent out for services; now they will be able to receive immediate help. “The guests will be guided to the right places and get the right help,” said Donnie.
The Navigation Center offers many benefits for the community. It will help get more people off the streets, and into a place where they may overcome obstacles, obtain services and treatment options, and then grow and thrive.