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Compass Family Services leads the way in helping San Francisco families facing homelessness secure stable housing and attain economic self-sufficiency and family well-being. We have been service innovators for more than 100 years, and more than 95% of the families who complete our housing programs achieve lasting success.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT: We help homeless families and those at imminent risk to achieve housing stability, economic self-sufficiency, and well-being.


Compass Family Services boasts a strong passion for social justice. We embrace the idea that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion contribute to our success and strive to look at everything we do through this lens.  We are committed to the pursuit of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in all aspects and areas of our work, in both internal and external relationships – as they impact our clients, our staff, our stakeholders and our place in the community. We believe that we can empower families to achieve housing stability, self-sufficiency and well-being by creating a system that is equitable and a culture of inclusion that leverages diversity.  We understand that this work is a continuous process while at the same time recognizing that it is absolutely critical to our success and integrity as an organization.  

Making a difference for over 100 years.

Compass Family Services' predecessor, Travelers’ Aid San Francisco, is founded in anticipation of the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition (World’s Fair) -- which attracted 19 million visitors -- to provide assistance to newcomers to the city. The organization continued to provide a helping hand to American pioneers and new immigrants who became stranded on their journeys throughout this time.



Traveler's Aid

Due to the influx of refugees arriving from Europe and Asia, Traveler's Aid's caseload increases exponentially. A “Transit Lounge” is opened in Southern Pacific Railway Station (at 3rd and Townsend Streets) in response to influx of war refugees and increase in transient juveniles.




After celebrating 75 years of “assisting transients, newcomers and travelers alone in the city,” the focus begins to shift to issues of homelessness as more and more people appear in San Francisco’s streets lacking shelter, employment, and other resources.



Focus Shifts to Homelessness

Traveler's Aid San Francisco is renamed to Compass Community Services. The City of San Francisco awards Compass a grant to form Compass Connecting Point, allowing Compass to centralize access to services for homeless families and manage the city-wide family shelter waiting list.



Compass Community Services

In midst of Great Depression, extra workers are hired to conduct outreach to youth in need. As part of the New Deal, a National Youth Administration project helps update clerical work, freeing up social workers for greater client service. An office is opened on Treasure Island to provide full-time social workers for the Golden Gate International Exposition.



The Great Depression

Aquarius House, a 30-day residential program in the Haight to help with the influx of teens and young adults, is established in addition to the Tenderloin Childcare Center, which opens in the YMCA Ballroom in response to growing need for subsidized childcare among San Francisco’s poorest families. The Tenderloin Childcare Center becomes the first licensed childcare center in San Francisco to reserve slots for homeless children.



First Programs Established

Over this time frame, Compass Family Shelter opens as one of the city’s first family shelters to alleviate the burgeoning crisis of family homelessness in addition to Compass Clara House, a two-year transitional housing program for families, opens on Page Street. Compass establishes Family Follow-up Project to provide aftercare services to homeless families in permanent housing.



Growing Programs

Compass has been recognized as one of the Best Non-Profits in the Bay Area by the San Francisco chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and has been awarded the national Mutual of America Community Partnership Award. Compass has been one of 23 agencies nationwide to be awarded a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to rapidly re-house homeless families.



Compass Family Services