Alan Nethe, who spent 15 years on the street, answers succinctly when asked what he likes about the new Navigation Center in San Francisco’s Mission District. “Everything,” he says. “What’s not great about it? You’ve got food, laundry, showers, and everybody in here cares about the program and how it runs.” Getting people who come in with maybe no identification or income and getting them into housing is complex work, says Sam Dodge, the deputy director at HOPE. “The feeling is calm and quiet,” he said. “You wouldn’t know 70 hardcore long-term homeless people are staying there. It has a very relaxed vibe.”
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.