The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

San Mateo County efforts tackle homelessness

Jasmine Gao
An artistic rendering of the housing project shows the living units offered, with four separate structures and outside communal space as well.

A new housing project will provide 240 free beds and other resources to homeless people in San Mateo County.

The San Mateo Navigation Center, located east of Highway 101 along Maple Street in Redwood City, was approved by the Board of Supervisors in February 2022. Construction subsequently began that spring, according to Project Coordinator Jasmine Gao. 

“The goal of this project is to provide temporary living units and intensive on-site support services to individuals and couples experiencing homelessness,” Gao said.

Gao controls all aspects of the project as the manager, including the planning, construction, and budget. 

In addition to housing units with shared bathrooms and dining options, the Navigation Center will offer an outdoor space for activities. According to their website, it will also provide counseling and other support like case management and health services. 

As of March 2023, the project is nearly complete one year later, with only a few things left to finish. 

“There is still some landscaping that needs to be done, as well as finishing the installation of fire alarm elevators and some interior furniture and furnishing,” Gao said.  

The goal is that the construction will be complete by late April, and moving people in can begin.

Gao explained that once temporary residents arrive, the idea is for them to stay at the Center for 3-4 months to get job training and then transition to save money for permanent housing. 

San Mateo County pushed this project as part of a broader plan, announced in a summit held in October of 2022, “Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness.” The conference brought together leaders from local organizations as a call to action to reduce and eventually eliminate homelessness in the Bay Area. 

“The Navigation Center is a key component of the County’s plan to make interim or permanent housing available to every unsheltered person who chooses assistance,” Gao said. 

In addition to housing accommodations in the County for people experiencing homelessness, other services like food and healthcare are offered through nonprofits and other organizations.

The Samaritan House in San Mateo offers a variety of resources, including but not limited to food, clothes, and medical clinics. 

Jenny Saba, the Associate Director of Volunteers and Engagement at the Samaritan House, explains that their services are even more critical after the pandemic, with the number of clients increasing from 15,000 to approximately 25,000 annually. 

Still, respect and inclusion are at the core of who we are. Our central mission is to preserve the dignity of our clients and provide hope with compassion to everyone in the community.

— Jenny Saba

According to Saba, the Samaritan House is one of San Mateo’s leading nonprofits. They focus on a holistic approach to poverty, beyond basic food and shelter services to empower their clients financially toward self-sufficiency. 

“We are committed to fostering an environment where all feel valued and are free from discrimination,” Saba said. 

Another Bay Area service offered for people experiencing homelessness or food insecurity is through the organization Second Harvest, located in San Carlos. 

They offer many food services to Bay Area residents, with the goal of building an entirely hunger-free community, according to their website. They give food deliveries to more than 5,300 households monthly and focus on improving youth access to food during the school year and summer months.

Bay Area high schooler Natalie Su has previously volunteered at Second Harvest and enjoyed the experience. She explained that they helped package the food and distributed it to people’s cars. 

“I liked helping out and talking to the little kids that were there with their parents getting food,” Su said.  

Regardless of the services provided, they all positively impact residents in need of support, and Saba added how helpful volunteering and donations are to nonprofit organizations. 

They emphasized that, as a community, everyone can continue to help take steps to end homelessness in the Bay Area. 

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Samantha Crowther
Samantha Crowther, Highlander Editor
Samantha Crowther is a junior at Carlmont in her second year of journalism. She enjoys interacting with her community and is excited to start editing for the magazine this year. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, and spending time outside, and is a member of the Carlmont cross country and track teams. To view her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @SamCrowther25

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
San Mateo County efforts tackle homelessness