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Vallejo homeless housing project gets $6M boost from Sutter, Kaiser, NorthBay Healthcare

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The largest city in Solano County is moving forward with a proposed shelter for the homeless, thanks in large part to millions of dollars in funding from three health care systems in the North Bay.

The city of Vallejo recently announced that, between Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente and NorthBay Healthcare, it has received a combined investment of $6.2 million to proceed with a shelter center for the homeless. The approximately 14,000-square-foot Vallejo Navigation Center will provide access to temporary housing for the city’s homeless population, and connect them to health services, income sources and, eventually, a path toward permanent housing — an effort the city has dubbed P.A.T.H.: Providing Access To a Home.

Vallejo focused its efforts following the vision of the Community Action Partnership of Solano joint powers authority’s five-year strategic plan, which recommends a “housing first” policy approach to lower barriers to permanent, emergency and temporary housing and also recommends the improvement of navigation of homelessness services, according to the city’s news release.

The city received $3 million each from Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, and $200,000 from NorthBay Healthcare, according to Anne Cardwell, assistant city manager, city of Vallejo.

Separately, last week, two of the three health care systems — Kaiser and Sutter — along with St. Joseph Health, made a one-time donation of nearly $625,000 (split three ways) to the county of Sonoma to help fund a new psychiatric medical center, according to the Press Democrat. The purpose of the new center, still to be identified, is to absorb the overflow of psychiatric patients in local hospitals’ emergency rooms.

The Vallejo homeless center also received funding from outside the health care system.

“The Home Builders Association is donating $1.1 million in labor and materials for site preparation,” Cardwell said.

Estimated cost for construction is $1.77 million, and annual operating costs are estimated at $1.88 million, she said.

“This navigation shelter will be constructed on approximately 2 acres of land and built using a prefabricated modular design referred to as a ‘sprung structure,’” Cardwell said. “The sprung structure interior layout will include sleeping quarters for up to 125 beds in a dorm-room configured setting, common areas, community kitchen, offices, clinic, designated dog area, storage lockers and bike racks.”

The structure has a permanent look and feel, she added, but can be put up or taken down within a few weeks.

“We know that this center will transform lives,” said Nor Jemjemian, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president and area manager for the Napa-Solano region, in a statement. “We hope that it will also be a catalyst for change in how those who are homeless are treated, here in Solano County and beyond.”

The CEOs for both Sutter Solano Medical Center and NorthBay Healthcare stated they’re committed to improving the health of people, whether inside or outside their facilities.

“Homelessness is a statewide crisis and public-private partnerships like this are exactly the type of solutions we need to bring to scale throughout California,” said Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento mayor and co-chairman on the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors.

Staff Writer Cheryl Sarfaty covers tourism, hospitality, health care and education. Reach her at cheryl.sarfaty@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4259.

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