Shelter Network, InnVision combine | July 11, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 11, 2012

Shelter Network, InnVision combine

The two large homeless service providers in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties — Shelter Network and InnVision — have merged into a single organization called InnVision Shelter Network, the organizations announced July 10.

By consolidating operations, the new organization will be able to operate more efficiently and effectively, and serve an additional 1,000 people each year, said Karae Lisle, the CEO of Shelter Network who will become CEO of the combined organization.

InnVision CEO Christine Burroughs will retire after 24 years in that position.

The two organizations currently serve approximately 20,000 homeless men, women and children annually, Ms. Lisle said. Of those, approximately 4,000 to 6,000 in each county receive shelter services. The remainder receive food services in Santa Clara County.

The merger was prompted in part by Ms. Burroughs' retirement and the arrival of Ms. Lisle as Shelter Network CEO last year with a goal of serving more homeless people.

"In San Mateo County, we have an average of 50 families every night — a total of 200 people — on the waiting list" for shelter, Ms. Lisle said.

By adopting in both counties the Shelter Network model of "Beyond the Bed" services, aimed at getting people back on their feet and into permanent housing quicker, the new organization hopes to serve more people.

InnVision in Santa Clara County has had a policy of charging fees for shelter, which tended to result in longer stays. The new organization will stop that policy, Ms. Lisle said.

The combined organization has 18 major facilities, approximately 200 employees and 18,000 volunteers, said spokesperson Maria Duzon. Other than having one CEO rather than two, no other staff or employee reductions are anticipated, Ms. Lisle said.

In fact, the combined budget for the current fiscal year, which started July 1, will grow by about $2 million to a total of $16 million in part to hire more case managers in Santa Clara County to provide the "Beyond the Bed" services, Ms. Lisle said.

She acknowledged there has been cuts in government funding, which has made up about 60 percent of the organizations' budget, and there is a greater reliance on private donors.

There are no plans to alter the service facilities, such as Haven House in Menlo Park, which serves homeless families, but there will be an emphasis on increasing efficiencies and serving more people, she said.

Its "Beyond the Bed" package of services, including counseling, job assistance and child care, has resulted in 90 percent of transitional family graduates returning to permanent housing, the organization says.

The new InnVision Shelter Network board of directors was selected from the two previous boards, and includes community members with experience in finance, law, technology, venture capital and nonprofit work.

The organization received pro-bono legal counsel for the consolidation from Fenwick & West LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Go to for more information on the new organization.


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