What is the Navigation Center?
The Navigation Center is a Native-led, collaborative community response. Red Lake Nation, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, shelter providers in the Minneapolis shelter collaborative, including Simpson Housing Services (#MCHMember), and several other organizations united to provide outreach to the primarily Native American community living at the Franklin-Hiawatha encampment and develop plans for the Navigation Center.
The Navigation Center guests reside in heated, indoor structures with cots and partitioned areas arranged by guests for sleeping and daily living. Just a few steps away, two large trailers house a dining hall for meals and office space for guest meetings with shelter staff and community resources. Buildings with heated bathrooms and showers are conveniently located on the premises. Three meals, as well as snacks, are provided for guests each day. Bedding and hygiene supplies are also available.
Central to the successful operation of the Navigation Center has been the selection of its staff. To date, 31 Simpson Housing Services staff members, including three case managers, provide support at the temporary shelter. Many Navigation Center staff members have connections to Native American community members and previously provided outreach at the encampment.
What happens at the Navigation Center?
The Navigation Center’s low-barrier approach incorporates guidelines that create a safe, welcoming, and respectful living environment for guests. The temporary shelter is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Individuals living at the Navigation Center are allowed to leave and reenter the premises according to their own schedules instead of predetermined times.
The Navigation Center is a collaborative effort to provide safe, temporary shelter for community members. By offering support and connections to community resources, it is hoped that each guest will experience enhanced stability and well-being, now and beyond the Navigation Center.
We know that the Navigation Center is a temporary safe and clean stay for individuals. Their focus is simply keeping folks safe during the harsh winter, connected to services and housing. To date, 43 participants have moved successfully into housing from the Navigation Center!
As stated earlier from Simpson Housing Services staff, the success rates for finding housing quickly is partly due to the resources available to the staff and guests. Currently, shelters are underfunded with limited resources and an insufficient number of full-time staff members. That’s why MCH is advocating for $15M in the Emergency Services Program. Emergency shelters are the starting point to gaining long term stability. With lodging on a short–term basis (usually less than three months) emergency shelters provide a homeless individual or family with a clean, safe place to stay. Strengthening the Statewide Emergency Services Program with an increase of $15M per biennium is a smart investment because where we live impacts every aspect of our lives. When everyone has a place to call home, children learn, workers earn, seniors thrive, and communities prosper.
We are thankful and proud of the work our #MCHMember Simpson Housing Services is doing alongside others to provide outreach and housing stability at the Navigation Center.
The Navigation Center will remain open for guests through May 2019. In June, Red Lake Nation plans to break ground for permanent housing on the site.
For more information please visit the Simpson Housing Services website