The mission of Project Homeless ConnectTM (PHC) is to provide a single location where non profit medical and social service providers collaborate to serve the homeless of San Francisco with comprehensive, holistic services.
An estimated 6,000-12,000 people are homeless on any given night in San Francisco. Twenty-percent are chronically homeless. Widespread foreclosures, the demands of returning veterans, and the reduction of federal funding for affordable housing create constant challenges in a declining economy. Dealing with the vexing problem requires intervention not only by government but also the community at large.
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.
Today, over 1,000 community volunteers partner with government agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector every two months to provide a single location with comprehensive health and human services for homeless San Franciscans. During PHC’s events, participants are able to accomplish in one day what might normally take eight months.
Hundreds of corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies provide PHC and its clients with services such as dental care, eyeglasses, family support, food, HIV testing, housing, hygiene products, medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, SSI benefits, legal advice, California identification cards, voice mail, employment counseling and job placement, wheelchair repair, methadone, needle exchange, 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 March 2011, 22,290 volunteers have provided services to more than 32,462 homeless and poor San Franciscans.
The federal government’s Interagency Council on Homelessness has declared Project Homeless Connect a national best practice model. PHC is replicated in over 260 cities across the United States, as well as in Canada and Australia.
The goals of Project Homeless Connect are to:
- Improve access to services for San Francisco’s homeless.
- Engage with and maintain an active, involved volunteer base that consists of local businesses, nonprofits, and individual community members all working together to help end homelessness.
- Improve the system of care through collaboration and the sharing of best practices among San Francisco’s homeless service provider community.
- Partner with the private sector, corporations, and foundations to expand service capacity and funds.