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Helping the homeless navigate to new opportunities in San Francisco area

Members of the Church find joy in preparing new transitional housing to open for those experiencing homelessness near Silicon Valley

A new facility to help the homeless near San Francisco, California, opened its doors on Tuesday, April 18, with the help of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to ChurchofJesusChrist.org, the Church and its members contributed financially and with service hours to prepare the 240-bed complex for people experiencing homelessness. The goal of the facility, called a navigation center, is to help people living on the streets to move indoors and transition to permanent housing options, according to LifeMoves, an nonprofit organization the Church partnered with for this project.

Aubrey Merriman, CEO of LifeMoves, said: “People want to be a part of the solution. People generally want to go from being on the sideline and spectators to participating in the sport of changing lives. And that’s what today is about.”

Nearly 150 Latter-day Saints from the area were among those looking to get off the sidelines and be a part of that solution by volunteering to finish the center over the past couple of weeks.

Volunteers help prepare the County of San Mateo Navigation Center for its first residents in Redwood City, California, on Saturday, April 15, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Philip Fletcher, second counselor in the Menlo Park California Stake presidency, said the Church has worked with LifeMoves on other projects.

“We actually have plans to have our bishops be trained by some of the people that work with some of the people that pass through this center, to make us aware of resources that are available in the community,” he said.

Mary George, a member of the Church who lives in the area, helped coordinate the volunteer support of Church members. She said joy comes to both those who serve and those who receive service.

“The members, no matter what they’re doing, they always have a smile on their face,” she said.

Kristine Taylor, another volunteer who helped prepare the center for its opening, said the community benefits from the service, as well.

“I think everyone just finds great joy in helping others and being together and seeing what we can do as a community to help uplift others,” she said.

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