2022 was a year filled with expansion, compassion, and celebration at Felton Institute. Our commitment and service to those in need in our community flourished last year – we expanded programs, staff, and celebrated scholastic success with children and their families. Our community service highlights include selection as the City of Antioch’s first-ever crisis response team, increased funding for programs serving unhoused populations, partnering with a historic San Francisco nonprofit, as well as holding the first in-person preschool graduation since the pandemic began. As we welcome 2023, we look forward to many more successes and community engagement led by a dedicated leadership and workforce that continues to serve and empower others.
Felton to Launch the Angelo Quinto Crisis Response Team
On October 26th, 2022, Antioch City Council unanimously selected Felton Institute to launch the city’s first 24/7 non-police crisis response team. Called the Angelo Quinto Crisis Response Team, it will respond to low-level, nonviolent, and non-life threatening 911 calls. First proposed by Councilwoman Monica E. Wilson in 2020 the team was named in honor of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Filipino-American Navy veteran killed by Antioch police in 2020 while experiencing a mental health crisis. Quinto died three days after losing consciousness. Angelo’s sister Bella Quinto Collins says of the team, “the only thing we can really hope to do right now is honor Angelo and fight for him and make sure that he’s leaving behind a really positive legacy, that he didn’t die in vain.”
The pilot program will be the first of its kind in East Contra Costa County and one of only a few in the Bay Area. Councilwoman Wilson said of the team, which is set to launch this year, “in the City of Antioch, and in cities across the country, there is an evident need to expand the range of services beyond police, fire, and emergency room services in response to mental health crises situations,” adding, “through the Angelo Quinto Crisis Response Team, the City of Antioch can provide more effective emergency services, including compassionate care and strategized resources, to anyone in need.”
Felton Institute’s Justice Services Curtis Penn emphasizes the need for community support and connection. The crisis response team will have “the ability to de-escalate a person in crisis, establish rapport and connect them to treatment and support – this resonates well with residents from that community.” He explains, “While law enforcement may still play a role in some mental health crises, the primary response should come from mental health crisis response professionals who regularly engage the community and have established themselves in that community.” The crisis response team Program Director Contessa Tate elucidates, “I want the community to heal the community. And the way they are going to heal the community is if they get involved and engage with us.”
Ms. Quinto Collins, who remembers her brother’s love of karaoke, his sense of humor, and his immense love for his family, says of the crises team, “it solidifies the idea that Angelo can create change that’s positive for people and that he can create a more positive world.”
Felton Partners with The United Council of Human Services
Felton Institute is excited to announce its partnership with The United Council of Human Services (UCHS). Honoring the work of Mother Brown who began serving those in need nearly forty years ago, Felton remains committed to the principles and aspirations of UCHS whilst providing invaluable fiscal and HR support as their new fiscal sponsor. The partnership of these two historic organizations will continue to provide critical services to the vulnerable and under-served at their Bayview location. San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Executive Director Shireen McSpadden says of the partnership, “I’m excited about the partnership of these two historic organizations that will continue to provide critical services to vulnerable and underserved communities and partners who bring this work to life.”
UCHS has been supporting the Bayview-Hunter’s Point since 1984 by serving low-income and unhoused populations when founder Mother Brown handed out homemade meals from her automobile. In the decades since, UCHS has expanded its food programs for individuals and families as well as providing services to the city’s unhoused. They provide over 300 transitional housing units, including the Safe Sleep Site program, which provides tents for unhoused clients, creating pathways to permanent housing. UCHS’s services have been providing on-the-ground, client-engaged support for decades. Felton looks forward to all the wonderful accomplishments this partnership will have in the decades to come. UCHS’s Gwendolyn Westbrook, who took over Mother Brown’s role in 2004, elucidates, “working with Felton Institute has been a breath of fresh air. They are an organization that truly cares.” She adds, “we’re excited to see how this partnership develops.”
The Felton Engagement Specialist Team (FEST) provides outreach and support to clients by addressing substance use, mental health, and physical health needs. The team works to secure and link unhoused clients to temporary or permanent housing. FEST works on the ground in direct service to under-resourced community members by providing their expertise and compassion to all they serve. 2022 was a fruitful year for the dedicated team who were able to expand their support across San Francisco city streets. FEST received increased funding from the Department of Public Health which enabled them to double their team from 5 to 12 people. Program Manager Shannon Wise says of her expanding team members, “Our engagement is heartfelt.”
FEST spends roughly eighty-five percent of its time out in the field working directly with the homeless population in San Francisco. They collaborate with city and county departments in support of the unhoused. They give out hygiene kits, refreshments, and provide service linkage. The team is often the first to engage with these populations. “The police departments, the Fire Department, the Department of Public Health, always ask for us,” Ms. Wise explains. “They ask for us because we’re on the frontline.”
Many FEST team members bring their lived-experience of being formerly homeless to their roles. “We all have some sort of connection to the population we serve,” Ms. Wise explains, “and its empathy that keeps us going. The empathy, the desire to do the work.”
With homelessness and substance abuse remaining critical concerns in the Bay Area, securing housing and substance abuse treatment for underserved populations can be a challenging endeavor. What Ms. Wise wants the public to understand about unhoused populations is their humanity and that “all homeless people don’t use drugs and all of them don’t have mental health issues.” Ms. Wise explains, “they are human and a lot of them are just down on their luck.” Regardless of the reason, FEST team members have a proven track record of successfully linking clients to housing as well as detox centers. Their support works as a lifeline to San Francisco’s most vulnerable people. FEST team members Billie Jean Terry and Rodney Thompson assisted an unhoused client, Rachel, who was struggling to find housing. She describes being “at her wits end.” But when Ms. Terry and Mr. Thompson linked her to housing services that got her off the streets, she said the experience was “such a blessing.”
The FEST Team looks forward to another year filled with successful engagement with those they serve. Reflecting on her team and their many successes, Ms. Wise asserts, “the people I manage inspire me.”
Early Care Education Preschool Graduation
On August 5, 2022, preschoolers from Felton Institute’s Early Care and Education (ECE) programs celebrated with the first in-person graduation since 2019 at San Francisco State University. In caps and gowns, students from Felton’s Learning Center, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center, and Family Developmental Center were congratulated by Felton leaders, teachers, and parents.
Felton’s Chief Operations Officer Dr. Yohana I. Quiróz, Ed.D, says of the graduation held each year, “We want families to visualize their children in this setting so that this can be their reality.” Adding, “it’s never too early to start talking to young children about college. It’s a natural part of the education process that can help families set this as an expectation for their children after high school. At Felton, our goal is to make this concept the norm and not the exception.”
About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.
Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult, and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, Monterey, Sonoma, and Contra Costa counties. Felton’s social services and programs utilize the latest scientific research, combining cultural sensitivity, deep respect for client and staff, and a commitment to social justice.
Felton is the oldest non-sectarian and nonprofit social services provider in the City and County of San Francisco. For over a century, Felton Institute has been at the forefront of social service innovation, pioneering new approaches to meet underserved populations’ emerging needs. At the heart of our work is the belief that individuals and families in crisis must have access to services and resources to help them build on their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org