Updated: Mar 25
Thank you for making it possible for 30 vulnerable families to safely Shelter-in-Place!
Three weeks ago San Francisco’s family service providers—Compass Family Services, Hamilton Families, Homeless Prenatal Program, Dolores Street Community Services, and Providence Foundation— joined forces to shelter unhoused families during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Our motivation was that families cannot shelter in place if they have no shelter and no place to go. We launched a campaign to help fund this effort, and thanks to your incredible generosity, we’ve raised more than $30,000 on our campaign page so far!
We have been hard at work over the past three weeks: securing a block of 30 hotel rooms in San Francisco’s SOMA district, negotiating a family-centered agreement with the hotel operator, and matching unsheltered homeless families to open rooms while collaborating to provide supplies, food deliveries, and supportive services. Rooms are spacious with one king bed or two full beds and private bathrooms with showers and baths. After Homeless Prenatal Program performed an initial safety assessment, Compass Family Services stepped in to child-proof every room, equipped each room with a microwave, and added industrial refrigerator and freezer; and Hamilton Families stocked each room with a welcome pantry, full of toiletry items, nonperishable snacks, cleaning products, baby supplies, and more. Our family collaborative has worked seamlessly to provide donor-funded meal deliveries, build supportive relationships with each family, and make services and supplies available on an ongoing basis.
We have maintained a high occupancy rate, allowing for a small degree of turnover as families locate alternative housing. All families are engaged in housing search with the support of our agencies, as we are committed to transitioning our hotel families from unsheltered homelessness to stability as much as possible.
Here are the stories of just a few of the families currently housed at the hotel:
· A mom and a young son who were couch surfing and spending nights in their car once they lost their housing due to separation from an abusive partner. The mom had located housing, but her work hours were cut due to COVID-19 and because of the cut she could no longer afford to move in.
· A mom in her first trimester and dad with their one-year-old. She had been staying at a local women’s shelter while the dad slept in their car near the airport, where he works. The shelter bed had become increasingly uncomfortable as a result of the pregnancy, and the mom had considered moving the entire family into the car so that they could at least be together during the stress of a new pregnancy. They were so grateful to be offered a hotel room where they can be together and where the mom can get a comfortable night’s sleep.
· A mom, dad, and their three children—a daughter and two sons—who had been sleeping in a tent. Both boys have asthma and they had struggled with homelessness for a while. They are particularly appreciative of the room because they are concerned about the boys’ health and vulnerability in the pandemic.
It is thanks to your tremendous support that we can provide these children and parents with a safe, stable, and private place to shelter as we ride out what we hope is the worst of this terrible and unprecedented crisis. We are grateful, we are hopeful that we can help our hotel families start building lasting stability for themselves and their little ones, and we know that we are stronger when we are working together. Thank you for partnering with us to serve these vulnerable families!