Our winter shelter isn’t just a place of refuge in adverse weather conditions, it’s also an opportunity to move towards greater stability. In the first 30 days our shelter was open, 259 people stayed with us overnight who otherwise would have been out on the streets.
Our shelter is designed to increase stability for those we serve as we have on-site social workers, medical clinic staff, clean clothing, hot meals, and availability to showers via our partnership with Lava Mae. With these added services, we’ve seen our guests take first steps towards stability.
Check out the statistics we’ve gathered and learn about how our shelter is helping homeless San Franciscans reach stability.
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.
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 possible.
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.
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.
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 here.