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    New Home, Lasting Mission

    By Brett Andrews–

    (Editor’s Note: This issue marks the return of Brett Andrews, the CEO of PRC, to the San Francisco Bay Times. A break was understandably needed, given PRC’s merger with AIDS Emergency Fund and Baker Place, the expansion of the Hummingbird Place Program at San Francisco General Hospital, the opening of PRC’s new 25,000-square-foot Service Center in SOMA and more. We greatly admire Brett and his team, who work to help people affected by HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues to better realize opportunities by providing integrated legal, social and health services that address the broad range of social risk factors that impact wellness and limit potential. Welcome back, Brett!)

    We’re thrilled to be opening a new Integrated Service Center at 170 9th Street to help San Francisco eliminate the social and systemic barriers to health and wellness. Research from the World Health Organization proves the conditions of people’s lives—where they live, learn, work and play—affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. By integrating community with social, legal and behavioral health services, PRC can uplift people struggling with HIV/AIDS, substance use or mental health issues alongside poverty, stigma and isolation.

    PRC has always been about community, of community, and in community. It is rooted in the commitment to the success of so very many people’s lives. I’m heartened by PRC’s willingness to step up and stand up when someone needs help.

    Today, I think we need it more than ever. San Francisco has always been a bridge between worlds: a home for erstwhile strangers, chosen families and new perspectives sprouting ideas, champions and actions to break barriers and shape a better world. Now is the time to lead with the strength of community.

    A strong social support system—a true community—improves overall health outcomes and resiliency in the face of stress. Yes, we need more housing, smart density, reliable transit, accessible healthcare and to invest in a continuum of effective mental health and substance use treatment pathways. We also need to invest ourselves in community. 

    We’ve all experienced the human cost of San Francisco’s promise, and its success, among friends and colleagues as well as on the streets of our neighborhoods. Inside service organizations like PRC—and through a community lens—we can see so clearly that health inequities are linked to historically-rooted social and economic isolation, policies of exclusion and otherness. People experiencing homelessness in San Francisco are disproportionately LGBTQ (30% v. 14%) and African American (35% v. 6%). We’ve shrunk new HIV infections by nearly two-thirds in San Francisco over 10 years, but 14% of new diagnoses are concentrated in homeless individuals.

    When we are in community, we see the similarities and not the distance between us and them, and we participate.

    PRC has aligned essential programs and services that build on our community—the San Francisco model—bringing my roots as the longtime leader of Positive Resource Center, the incredible legacy of AIDS Emergency Fund, and the depth and compassion of Baker Places into one chosen family. We’re holding fast and expanding our community.

    I invite you to stand with us in community. Everyone deserves an advocate and opportunity, and PRC is here to bridge health, housing, income and community for people in need. We’ll be opening our doors at 170 9th Street wide to community with gatherings, trainings and events, so stay tuned and join us at our website ( https://prcsf.org/ ) to learn more.

    Leading PRC since 2003, Brett Andrews has overseen PRC’s evolution from a small HIV/AIDS legal service agency to an integrated social and behavioral health provider bent on fighting poverty, stigma and isolation by uplifting marginalized adults and affecting the social conditions of health. Brett holds an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Washington University, received the San Francisco Pride Celebration’s Heritage Award for 10+ years of service in 2017, and was recently appointed to the San Francisco Mayor’s Methamphetamine Task Force. https://prcsf.org/