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June SF Homeless Innovation Meetup - Guests COH and PHC

  • Jun 6, 2013 · 6:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

For our third Meetup we’re please to have Jennifer Friedenbach, the Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness (, and Amy Golsong, Assistant Director of Project Homeless Connect (

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  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)

Housing Justice

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)

Street Sheet

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.

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  • Victor A.

    I am looking forward to this meetup -- I hope to meet people who want to become involved or connect with a project I have started designing. The basic idea is a game where your character is homeless, and as you benefit the character in the game you can be simultaneously helping real homeless through charities and direct actions. The game rules can also change in response to charitable acts of the players, creating a positive feedback loop. In addition to normal game design and development (which is my department), the project will require social science, charity and NGO relations, logistics, and other fields which are not my specialty. I want to meet people connected to organizations or with knowledge and skills which can make this sort of complicated multi-industry idea a reality. You can read more of my design online at

    I would love to talk more at the meetup with anyone interested.

    June 5, 2013

  • Anthony

    Can you add a link to the reddit group? What application and impact could democratized architecture through 3D printing have on homelessness in SF?

    June 7, 2013

  • Chris R.

    Rose and Barry....hats off to you. What a great thing you have started. I'm so inspired and moved by all of you. Looking forward to accomplishing amazing things. For anyone who's interested in SIMPLE, here's a link:

    June 9, 2013

  • Anthony

    Here is a good resource from Tavis Smile about the new poor, and the changing dynamics of the causes of poverty.

    June 7, 2013

  • w


    June 7, 2013

  • Manjunath

    I live in Sunnyvale, I am going to pass on this today.

    June 6, 2013

  • nikyta p.

    I work with homeless teens and young adults up to 24 years old, who are makers, survivors, and in desperate need of skills and resources that engage them in meaningful ways. I wonder who is working on similar issues, and what is being done... In my own work, I use art making & creativity as the vehicle for healing, and working with digital natives, there is always a very tech savvy edge. So I make electronic music, do digital narratives, build wordpress and etsy pages, edit and create video & photo. I am interested in basic robotics & game building for my 11-17 yr olds, and in anything with an entrepreneurial edge for my 18-24 yr olds. My center is also just up the street from the Tech Shop in San Jose, so I'd love to connect both computing and making together. Will this meet up cover any of that? I'd love to touch in with anyone doing similar work, or interested in short term specific projects from the tech end. I have several projects that need infrastructure/building. Thanks!

    1 · June 4, 2013

    • nikyta p.

      @ sneha: feel free to email me at [masked] to get involved or find put more! And lets talk/meet tomorrow!

      June 5, 2013

    • w

      For a trafficker to get sentenced, there has to be a trial. With evidence and witnesses willing to testify in court. Often, these things happen in multiple jurisdictions, which gets complicated unless there is strong collaboration between multiple jurisdictions. This isn't just a San Jose problem but probably international in nature. So an ounce of prevention . . . . .

      June 5, 2013

  • Jeff U.

    I wish I could attend, but have a conflict with another event. Would love to check out some minutes/notes if anyone takes any :)

    June 5, 2013

  • Spike

    I was so looking forward to this event, but we're finally live with a peer 2 peer edu program we've been working on and it happens all the alumni picked thursday so dang, I won't be able to make it :(.

    Any chance it'll be recorded? I was particularly interested to know if the guests had data to share, can someone ask that question?


    June 3, 2013

    • Rose B.

      Hey Spike! Bummed you won't be able to make it. I think you'll be particularly interested in PHC's new housing website. I'll ask if there's a good way for you to connect.

      June 5, 2013

    • Spike

      Thanks, appreciate it very much.

      June 5, 2013

  • Nathaniel

    Really happy to be joining this! I'm a product designer (service design/UX/UI/front-end) looking to help, in a side project capacity. Specifically I'm hoping I can join or source a practical, ready-to-go web idea, informed by interviews and on-the-groud experience with the homeless. It would be ideal to partner with a design-interested engineer and anyone who can bring data, insights, information and experience. Look forward to meeting you all!

    1 · June 3, 2013

    • Marc R.

      In San Jose? I don't have the bandwidth to take on any projects, but I can certainly help find people and resources. Call me tomorrow. [masked]

      June 4, 2013

    • Rose B.

      Hi Nathaniel, thanks for joining! Hope you can make it to the meetup tomorrow. I look forward to meeting you!

      June 5, 2013

  • Chuck J.

    First of all, I'm glad you all exist and that I know about you.

    Second, are these meetups virtual, in person, or both?



    June 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thought some of you may be interested in discussing this conversation I had regarding a shift of emphasis FROM AGENCY TO CITIZENRY when considering HOW TO ELIMINATE HOMELESSNESS. The convo helps agency-cart and citizen-horse to be put into their right places, working together to create synergy, thereby allowing sustained homeFULL solutions to happen. Vic D.

    June 3, 2013

  • Mr. William M.

    With Compliments

    May 29, 2013

  • Dan S.

    Sadly, I am moving, but, please let me know if I can do something to help out. I'd like to stay involved! I love what you're doing!

    May 16, 2013

    • Rose B.

      Dan, I'm so bummed to hear you're moving! Will reach out in email.

      May 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    "SOCIAL DESIGN today requires a conceptual shift FROM creating agency TO enabling citizenry." Vic Desotelle

    May 21, 2013

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