By Scott Unger • Of the News-Register • 

A place of opportunity, Newberg navigation center nears opening

Rusty Rae/News-Register##YCAP board member Arlene Worden, left, and staff member Michelle Whiting tour one of the six bedrooms at the renovated Newberg Navigation Center.
Rusty Rae/News-Register##YCAP board member Arlene Worden, left, and staff member Michelle Whiting tour one of the six bedrooms at the renovated Newberg Navigation Center.

With plenty of natural light and comfortable chairs near a fireplace, the front room of the renovated Navigation Center in Newberg could easily be mistaken for a hotel lobby.

City officials joined Yamhill Community Action Partnership staff and board members for a tour of the upgraded facility at 615 N. College St. Tuesday.

When the center opens fully this spring, the unassuming house will feature six bedrooms capable of housing up to 24 individuals, an area for drop-in clients and spaces for service providers.

The center will serve as a more comprehensive care location for unhoused individuals than a traditional overnight shelter, YCAP Executive Director Alexandra Ball said.

“We’re trying to intentionally bring some higher resources here, some wrap-around services, to address the multi-faceted needs of somebody who is in the journey of the unhoused, which looks different for every single individual who walks through the door,” she said.

The center will accept client referrals from partner agencies and allow providers to use the space for a range of services, including housing assistance, medical and mental health wellness checks and job searching.

“This space can be utilized by other service providers at every opportunity we can allow,” Ball said.

YCAP owns and operates the facility and paid for the renovations through grant funding and a partnership with the city of McMinnville, where a second Navigation Center will open later this year.

Renovations to the Newberg facility were almost entirely interior and included new heating, ventilation and air conditioning along with electrical equipment, new lighting and a full access control system for security. Also included are a revamped kitchen and an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible bedroom, according to Project Manager Jenn Sharp.

“It would take your breath away to know how different it feels in here,” she told the group. “This space is a lot more comfortable than it was a year ago.”

The center utilizes trauma-informed design to provide a soothing, non-clinical atmosphere built on sturdiness and cleanliness, Ball said.

The location will also serve as a daytime drop-in center for clients needing a shower, laundry, internet or other basic needs, Ball said. These will also be features of the McMinnville facility now under construction.

“Many partners have (drop-in care) but it’s just not enough,” Ball said. “We know the numbers on the street in our community, one spot is not going to be enough, so we hope to add this as an additional resource.”

YCAP held a soft opening of the facility in December but will continue its motel program (currently serving 28 individuals in 15 rooms) until adequate staffing can be hired and trained at the Navigation Center, Ball said.

When fully staffed, the center will have a front desk type employee to greet clients, hosts to get them acquainted to the facility and a case manager team on-site from 9 a.m. to noon to assist with needs, according to Christopher Crowder, Navigation Center manager.

Other future plans include the installation of a modular unit in the backyard to house additional offices and staff space, Sharp said.


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