Getting to know the Ritter Center
The City of San Rafael has partnered with Caltrans, the County of Marin, CHP, and multiple service organizations to provide enhanced services for individuals experiencing homelessness via designated service support areas (SSA). SSAs are designated spaces with security, restrooms, handwashing stations, garbage pick-up, regular outreach and service referrals, and other quality of life amenities. Ritter Center is one of the partners currently working with the City of San Rafael to provide medical services at the SSA.
“We are working to build trust. Our street medicine team visits regularly. We provide physical checkups, COVID tests, vaccinations, and screenings for conditions like Hepatitis,” said Ritter Center Clinic Manager Rachelle Valenzuela
“One example of this collaborative effort is the relationship we have built with one particular client. Although he initially resisted treatment from 911 and health service providers, he began to talk with the Ritter Center team and to open up slowly to the idea of support. After several visits to the Ritter Center clinic, he is beginning to feel much better,” said Ritter Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saima Firdoos.
Ritter Center served 153 people during the outreach period of January 24 – February 10, 2022. The street medicine team provided rapid COVID testing onsite for 48 individuals who otherwise could not access testing. They also instructed patients on how to correctly perform self-collected samples for rapid COVID testing and distributed 77 test kits.
SSA Receives State Funding
In other exciting news the City of San Rafael was awarding for their innovative work by being selected for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness Encampment Resolution Funding. The $522,000 award will allow the City to increase its case management services to the residents at the Service Support Area (SSA). The state funding will assist the City with its innovative approach towards addressing homelessness.
Key elements of the work related to the funding include:
• Provide housing location services tailored to the needs and preferences of each client.
• Assist clients in securing necessary personal documentation and completing required paperwork to attain housing vouchers
• Directly assist and work in partnership with clients to help them move into housing.
• Continue to meet with the client frequently after housing stabilization (likely after 60-90 days of tenancy), as determined by their needs for clinical and housing support.
• Develop and provide (or connect to) high quality interventions and services in support of wellness and recovery.
• Maintain contact at least once per month with the client’s housing property manager to provide an opportunity to be informed of any housing challenges.
How can you help?
The best way to assist people experiencing homelessness in Marin is to donate or volunteer directly through social service agencies and community groups working with our community.
Please do not donate directly to the Service Support Area as the bulk of donations are discarded and contribute to the collection of debris at the site.
- Homeward Bound Marin – In addition to being Marin’s primary emergency shelter provider, Homeward Bound also operates 353 units of supportive housing units, provides medical respite care, and provides job training opportunities.
- St Vincent de Paul Marin – In Marin since 1946, St. Vincent’s does much more than just provide 200,000 warm meals every year at its Free Dining Room on B Street.
- Downtown Streets Team – Downtown Streets Team is a work experience program that provides volunteer opportunities for men and women experiencing homelessness.
- Ritter Center – The Ritter Center is Marin’s primary healthcare provider for people experiencing homelessness.
- Adopt A Family Marin – Adopt A Family of Marin works to prevent homelessness and provide stability for Marin families in need.