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June 25, 2022

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Vancouver Navigation Center operator search still on

Groups looking to take over homeless day center have until extended deadline on Feb. 19

By , Columbian staff writer

The city of Vancouver has extended the deadline for proposals from organizations looking to run the Navigation Center, the city’s day shelter that provides basic services to people without homes.

Groups looking to take over management of the center now have until Feb. 19. Originally, the request for proposals issued on Dec. 19 was scheduled to close Wednesday.

Six organizations had expressed interest in taking over day-to-day operations of the Navigation Center and participated in a tour of the facility in early January. But as of Monday, none had actually responded to the request for proposals.

In extending the deadline, city leaders also added a second tour on Feb. 7 as part of the application process for any organizations that may have missed the first. Participation in at least one tour is mandatory for applicants.

Those who have already participated include XChange Recovery, a Battle Ground addiction recovery program; the Vancouver corps of the Salvation Army; Love Overwhelming, a Longview housing shelter; Vancouver’s Living Hope Church; the Mental Health Association in Portland; and Do Good, a veterans shelter.

Since opening in November 2018, the Navigation Center was operated by Share, a homeless service nonprofit. Share leadership announced in November that they were ending their contract with the Vancouver facility, and their last day at the site is Friday.

Diane McWithey, Share’s executive director, told The Columbian at the time of the announcement that Share and the city didn’t have “the same mission vision and values as to how to run the day center, so we gave notice.”

Vancouver’s homeless resources manager, Jackie St. Louis, is also leaving his post effective Feb. 14, and the city will soon launch a search for someone to fill the role.

In the meantime, staff from the city’s parks and recreation department are handling daily operations of the center, where clients go to access showers, laundry facilities and other basic services to alleviate the most immediate challenges of living without a home. Julie Hannon, director of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, told The Columbian earlier this week that those services should continue to function “pretty much business as usual.”

Columbian staff writer

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