Join St. Anthony’s Young Professionals Council

Living in San Francisco, poverty is something we see first-hand on a daily basis. At the cross-section of the city’s bustling financial (FiDi), commercial (Downtown), government (Civic Center), and tech (upper SOMA, mid-Market) neighborhoods is San Francisco’s poorest neighborhood, the Tenderloin. Witnessing our own neighbors unsure of where their next meal will come from, lacking access to clean bathrooms, or living in tents on the street is heartbreaking and eye-opening, and we invite you to take action with us. SAYPC is a group of creative and passionate 20- and 30-somethings from diverse backgrounds who volunteer their time and skill sets to extend the mission of St. Anthony’s by changing the conversation around poverty and engaging a new generation of Bay Area residents on how they can have a direct positive impact on homeless & low-income San Franciscans. In a little over a year, we’ve built from the ground-up a self-governing council that has produced initiatives like: -A series of social, educational and fundraising events -A robust content strategy that leverages the voice of a new generation -A deep connection with St. Anthony’s advocacy efforts -Creative volunteer programs -And more—we’re excited to hear your ideas.    We’re looking for people to help us propel these efforts to the San Francisco mainstream, making SAYPC a voice for homelessness and poverty and the de facto resource for Bay Area residents seeking information and opportunities to engage. Writers, designers, developers, tinkerers, public servants—everyone has a unique background and skill set that will add tremendous value to our group. If you’re passionate about your local community and are craving more involvement, join us: We’re tackling...

Bridging the Digital Divide for St. Anthony’s Guests

Homeless and low-income residents of one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods will be able to access free, public Wi-Fi when St. Anthony’s new Wi-Fi service ‘switches on’ this week. The divide in access to wireless internet is seen starkly in über-connected San Francisco: The Market St. corridor is blanketed with public and private wi-fi options, but not too far away, the Tenderloin is an island of digital isolation in an increasingly connected world. The new service—backed by Craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark—will allow the thousands of guests visiting St. Anthony’s each day to log in from any St. Anthony’s building. Without internet access it’s harder to find work, get medical care, and stay in touch with family and friends who may be a crucial source of support. We know that connecting our neighbors to these resources helps lift them out of poverty and onto paths toward stability. Thank you to Craig Newmark and the many other donors who made this...

Back to School Day 2016

The first day of school is fast approaching and for many families this means a shopping trip to get a new backpack, school supplies and a fresh new set of clothing. However, for many families in the San Francisco community, especially those that visit St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program, these shopping trips are simply not a financial reality. According to data from 2014, 81 percent of the families that utilize the services at our Free Clothing Program live at or below the federal poverty line, and the average monthly income for families that utilize these services is $1,441.20. When a family has to pay for rent, medical costs, food, and other bills, it doesn’t leave much behind in the budget to spend on getting the essentials for school. Therefore, we see a lot of families using our Free Clothing Program during this time of year. On Wednesday, August 10 we will be hosting our 5th annual Back to School event. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate partner, Dolby, along with Chronicle Books and Gap Inc., our Free Clothing Program will be able to provide 200 children with a new backpack filled with school supplies and books as well as new sets of clothing to get them prepared and ready for the first day of school. In addition, a personalized pair of shoes and a $50 gift card to Old Navy, courtesy of My New Red Shoes, will be included! Volunteer groups from Gap, Dolby, Silicon Valley Bank, and Zendesk will be on hand to help make this our best Back to School Day ever. St. Anthony’s is committed to making sure...

Beyond Outrage: Rediscovering our Neighbors

Throughout last week, Bay Area media outlets made a concerted effort to focus on the issue of homelessness in San Francisco. They admittedly stepped beyond their role of just reporting the news and used their resources to try to creatively propose solutions to this vexing social issue. We consider this a real service to the folks we serve at St. Anthony’s. St. Anthony’s has been very much a part of this effort: I have done a number of interviews for radio and TV, and our communications staff have arranged interviews with staff and guests and provided important background materials about our programs. What consistently came through in the media’s coverage was confirmation of what surveys of San Franciscans show: 97 percent San Francisco residents say that they consider homeless to be a serious problem for the city (77 percent agree that it’s a “crisis”). Seventy percent say that they are pessimistic about whether this problem can be solved. Perhaps not unrelated to this pessimism is the fact that most of the media’s discussion of the problem of homelessness in San Francisco pointed to city government as the party responsible for creating this crisis and the party responsible for coming up with solutions. That seems to me to be a recipe for pessimism: if we as members of the larger community point to those people over there, the homeless, as the problem, and then ask the agencies over here, the city, to clean it up, we are doomed to frustration and failure. The Franciscan spirit that has guided St. Anthony’s all these years would have us look at things differently....

Data Served Daily: Dining Room Survey Results

A new survey of our guests has shown that they are significantly older, more isolated, more frequently homeless, and more likely to be female than in previous years: The proportion of female guests has risen to 26% (from 12% in 2011), the share of seniors has risen to 33% (from 20%), and 46% of guests are homeless (up from 37%). Our new Dining Room was designed to be a safe, clean place where guests can eat, relax and chat with our community. The results suggest we’ve achieved our goal: 97% say our Dining Room is a warm and welcoming environment. This data allows us to understand in more detail what’s happening in our community. We’ll use it to better meet our guests’ needs in the present and adjust our services to plan for the future. Check out the full results...

Coordinating Passion and Power for All to Flourish

On December 3, we were honored to welcome the Honorable Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, to St. Anthony’s. Mayor Lee wanted to announce a new initiative from his office to deal with the problem of homelessness in the city. As I told the group gathered when welcoming them, those of us who work daily with people who are homeless know that the greatest burden of their predicament is the isolation and exclusion they experience. So we were thankful that the Mayor was coming to the Tenderloin to make his announcement. Those of us who are committed to addressing this persistent issue also know that we should not see “the homeless” as the problem. Those who are homeless are our brothers and sisters. The problem is our problem as a community—a community with incalculable resources but one that cannot structure our economy, align our resources or redistribute our wealth in ways to benefit all. The mayor’s proposals for better coordination of services and renewed commitment took on special meaning when listened to while sitting among the two groups gathered: my colleagues in the nonprofit world, who are in the trenches of this work, and the city department heads responsible for implementing plans. In one room we had the passion and the power to make things happen—the very forces that need to be coordinated. This conjunction also invited a proper understanding of the relationship between government and community responsibility: city agencies have the responsibility of providing a safety net of services to address the problem of homeless but this never absolves the community from caring for those who fall through...