Wednesday, 07 December 2022

Yurok Tribe announces partnership for treatment and housing initiative

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — The Yurok Tribe and Friendship House, a Native-led nonprofit serving urban Indians in San Francisco, are partnering to build a residential treatment center in Yurok territory and two housing projects in San Francisco.

The projects will serve Native people living in both rural and urban areas in Northern California.

“This is one of the first times that an urban-rural support network is being created for Native peoples,” said Joseph James, chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Too often, tribes and urban Indian organizations are pitted against each other for limited funding. This partnership shows what is possible when we put the needs of all native people first and foremost, and focus on providing holistic services on and off-tribal lands.”

With support from Gov. Gavin Newsom and Friendship House, the Yurok Tribe received $15 million from the California Department of Health Care Services to construct a residential treatment center on the Yurok Reservation in Northern California.

The center is part of Yurok Tribe’s $100 million dollar Regional Wellness Plan for the region, and will provide outpatient and medication assisted treatment services to serve tribal citizens from seven different tribes and native peoples throughout the region.

Friendship House, a leader in treatment and recovery programs for native peoples since 1963, will provide technical assistance to the tribe in operating the facility.

The Yurok Tribe and Friendship House will also develop two housing projects for native people in San Francisco — a 65-unit sober-living transitional housing facility and an 85-unit affordable housing facility for first-time Native homeowners.

“Other successful models of treatment and housing have proven what we know to be true,” said Gabriel Pimentel, executive director of Friendship House. “Safe, affordable housing is key to long-term sobriety and well-being.”

The treatment center and housing projects are part of a larger Friendship House-led environmental and racial justice campaign called “The Village SF Initiative” to reclaim and rebuild community for urban Indians.

Both Yurok Tribe and Friendship House are focused on Indigenous-led solutions for native peoples. Friendship House has seen high rates of success with its treatment programs, with more than 80% of its graduates maintaining sobriety six months or more after completing the program.


“The health, violence, poverty and housing disparities that exist today in native communities can be traced directly to federal and state policies including genocide, boarding schools and federal relocation,” said Abby Abinanti, chief judge of the Yurok Tribe. “But it is up to native people, leaders, and organizations to develop solutions. We must not wait for the solutions we know that work. And what we know is that native communities are safest when we create and build our own solutions.”

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