The mission of Project Homeless Connect is to rally the city to support and create lasting solutions for homeless San Franciscans.
Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is a national best practice model that originated in San Francisco under Mayor Gavin Newsom in October 2004. PHC is now implemented in 106 cities across the United States as well as Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia. Every other month over 1000 community volunteers partner with city government, non-profits and the private sector to provide a one-stop shop of health and human services for homeless San Franciscans. Services include medical, mental health, substance abuse, housing, dental, benefits, legal, free eyeglasses, California ID, food, clothing, wheelchair repair and more. The goal of PHC is to provide easy access to services that support the transition the of City’s homeless off the streets and into housing. As of February 2007, 18,486 volunteers have provided services to 18,217 homeless San Franciscans.
The goals of PHC are:
- Improve access to services and housing for homeless San Franciscans
- Engage and increase the collaborative involvement of homeless consumers, business, non-profit community, and individual volunteers to work together to create solutions to homelessness.
- To improve the system of care by creating opportunities for collaboration and sharing of best practices among San Francisco’s homeless provider community.
- Leverage private, corporate and foundation money and in-kind support to augment city efforts to increase housing options and build service capacity for homeless San Franciscans.
History in Brief
In October 2004, 278 volunteers engaged in a survey of the San Francisco downtown homeless population, which consists of a 60-square block area in the Tenderloin District where 85% of the City’s social services currently exist. Over 2 years later, San Francisco enlists over 1000 volunteers every other month to engage homeless San Franciscans and connect them to needed services and housing.
Project Homeless Connect is breaking the myth that people do not seek assistance and services and would simply prefer to be on the street. The data proves that when people are approached in a respectful and kind manner, and with available and appropriate resources, they are eager to accept help towards self-sufficiency. National outreach professionals agree that it takes multiple contacts to build trust towards accepting assistance.