Assessment by MPH students, community partners informs new SF shelter for pregnant women who are homeless

Monday, July 22, 2019

New SF shelter for women who are homeless and pregnantSan Francisco State University Master of Public Health (MPH) students, Jessica Wolin (Health Education lecturer and Health Equity Institute associate director for community engagement) and community partners conducted an assessment about pregnant women facing housing instability in San Francisco in 2017. As a result of this work and other efforts by advocates and service providers, a new shelter for pregnant women experiencing homeless is scheduled to open in San Francisco. The City plans to launch a new site in the Bayview (pictured) to provide temporary housing for homeless pregnant mothers in an effort to address a large unmet need and reduce preterm births. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved the proposal, which will include 17 bedrooms with the estimated average occupancy of 24 people, including 17 women and seven infants.

“This assessment provides the evidence that only with a focus on the harsh living conditions, stress and the impacts of displacement many low-income pregnant women face can the City realize a reduction in disparities in birth outcomes.”

In a May 23 article in the SF Examiner, the assessment conducted by the MPH students and partners was referred to as a key piece of evidence making clear the need for new strategies to support pregnant women experiencing homelessness. “In a city that has made addressing homelessness and degraded public housing a priority with highly visible initiatives and investments, low income and inadequately housed pregnant women are largely overlooked,” the report concluded. “This assessment provides the evidence that only with a focus on the harsh living conditions, stress and the impacts of displacement many low-income pregnant women face can the City realize a reduction in disparities in birth outcomes.”