For our third Meetup we’re please to have Jennifer Friedenbach, the Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness (www.cohsf.org), and Amy Golsong, Assistant Director of Project Homeless Connect (www.projecthomelessconnect.org).
Coalition on Homelessness
COH is a pillar in the SF homeless services community. It was was formed in 1987 to foster the active participation of homeless and low-income San Francisco residents and front-line staff in the struggle for economic and social justice. COH doesn't set agendas for poor and homeless; they take them from them.
To learn more about COH, please read below.
Project Homeless Connect
PHC is also a critical player in the SF homeless services community. It was was formed in 2004 with the mission to provide a single location where medical and social service providers collaborate to serve the homeless of San Francisco with comprehensive, holistic services. They are best known for their 5-times-a-year events in Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which offer dozens of services to thousands of people. PHC San Francisco is the lead for 200+ PHC affiliates nationwide and beyond.
PHC has an event coming up on June 7th! For more information, please go to www.projecthomelessconnect.org. Volunteer spaces fill up quickly!
To learn more about PHC, please read below.
More on Coalition on Homelessness
The Coalition encompasses the following three core projects:
Human Rights and Budget Justice Coalition
While selective enforcement and the promotion of laws targeting homeless people continue, San Francisco’s emergency services for homeless people have dramatically disintegrated. The loss of more than half of emergency drop-in centers, and over 1/3 of shelter beds has led to skyrocketing impacts on psychiatric crisis, emergency room visits, disintegrating health, and untreated addictive disorders. Individuals seeking shelter typically spends more than 8 hours a day seeking shelter, if lucky, get shelter for just one night, while beds sit empty due to systemic inequities. The Coalition seeks to protect the civil and human rights of homeless San Franciscans living on the street and in public shelters, through documenting abuse of homeless individuals, organizing for change, and through our budget advocacy, preserving programs and services that help homeless individuals move out of poverty.
Meeting Time: Wednesdays at 12:30 (open to public)
Anyone can walk in San Francisco’s low income neighborhoods and witness the difficulties and frustrations on the faces our people waiting to access permanent, affordable housing. San Francisco has 37,000 households on the combined wait-list for housing. Well over 6,000 people experience homelessness each night, 2,200 homeless children attend San Francisco’s public schools with the wait-list for family shelter tripled since the recession.
Meeting Times: Tuesdays at 12 noon (open to public)
The Street Sheet is the oldest continuously-published street news paper in the United States, published twice a month. Organizationally, it is our public outreach tool, reaching some 17,000 readers every two weeks to educate them about the causes of homelessness. For the 250 vendors of the Street Sheet, it serves as a source of income and an alternative to panhandling.
Street Sheet distribution: Monday-Friday, 9am-12 noon
More on Project Homeless Connect
In 2004, the San Francisco Department of Public Health created Project Homeless Connect as a way to bring necessary services to the homeless. Key staff realized the need for a new and unique approach. They understood that conventional methods of service did not effectively meet the needs of the homeless.
Because of Project Homeless Connect, a person experiencing homelessness is able to obtain as many services in one day as would otherwise take months. During each event, corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies provide PHC and its participants with services such as dental care, eyeglasses, HIV testing, housing, food, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, SSI benefits, legal advice, California identification cards, voice mail accounts, employment counseling/job placement, wheelchair repair, addiction services, and more.
In response to the changing needs of the homeless and low-income population, PHC continues to reshape its outreach strategy and improve available services. Recent modifications have included events specifically designed for veterans, families, and children.
As of December 2012, 45,524 volunteers provided services to 67,605 homeless and low-income San Franciscans. The federal government’s Inter-agency Council on Homelessness has declared Project Homeless Connect a national best practice model. PHC has been replicated in over 260 cities across the United States, as well as in Canada and Australia.