Raphael House Launches Aggressive Expansion to Address Growing Crisis of Family Homelessness

Mar 6 2015
Raphael House

3rd Floor Expansion Sketch   San Francisco, March 6, 2015—Raphael House, San Francisco’s oldest and only 100% privately funded shelter and services program dedicated to transitioning families beyond homelessness, has announced plans for the Foundations for Families Campaign, a $3 million, three-year growth initiative, that will expand the total capacity of its Residential Shelter Program and community-based Bridge Program by 67%, increasing the number of families the organization is able to serve each year from 300 to 500, by 2017. On March 20th, a momentous step will be taken toward this expansion effort, as eight additional residential rooms on the newly renovated third floor of the organization’s family shelter at Sutter and Larkin streets in the Tenderloin, are opened for occupancy. The third-floor renovation, which marks the completion of phase one of the campaign, will expand shelter capacity by 30%, allowing Raphael House to grow the number of families it is able serve in its Residential Shelter Program each year from 60 to 80. Renovation of the shelter’s third floor was completed by Rudolph Commercial Interiors of San Francisco. “Four of the eight new residential rooms have private bathrooms, says Raphael House Deputy Director Cecilia Ferber. This will allow us to help more families who are experiencing homelessness while facing additional barriers such as having a child or parent who has a physical disability and/or is coping with emotional trauma.” Also included in the third floor renovation are a new children’s playroom, a family living room, a kitchenette, and a suite of offices to be used for mental health services and additional program staff. During phase two of the campaign, Raphael House will continue to reach out to the community to raise the additional funding needed to increase the services that it provides through its Bridge Program, a program which helps families who’ve participated in the Residential Shelter Program as well as low-income families from the broader community, achieve and maintain stability by supporting them with the ongoing resources and connections they need to move beyond poverty. All Bridge Program services—including those such as case management, career development, children’s programming, academic enrichment, scholarships, and mental health counseling—will be expanded. But the primary focus will be on increasing the number of families experiencing or at risk for homelessness that the Bridge Program is able to serve through its extended service model of helping those who qualify avoid a stay in shelter by providing them a one-time, 3–12 month rental subsidy to secure rapid rehousing or prevent eviction, in tandem with intensive ongoing case management and full access to all Bridge Program services. The rental subsidies provided by Raphael House are unique in that families who receive them have the flexibility to secure housing locally or outside of the Bay Area. These subsidies may also be used by families who chose an alternative living situation to help to mitigate the high cost of housing, such one single parent combining resources with another to secure affordable housing together.

Community Need

Although recent data from San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association show that “Bay Area and State economies are booming,” the number of families in San Francisco who are homeless has increased significantly, overall, during the past several years. The HUD annual Point-in-Time-Count, which counts people who are homeless on the street and in shelters on one particular night, estimates that on a given night in 2014 there were at least 244 homeless families with children in San Francisco County, 37% more than the 2010 count. (PIT counts do not include homeless families who are living in a hotel/motel, doubled-up with friends or relatives, or those who are at risk of homelessness). In fall 2014, the San Francisco Unified School District reported that approximately 2,100 students in San Francisco’s public schools were homeless. “The Foundations for Families Campaign was implemented as part of a three-year strategic plan in response to this growing crisis of family homelessness,” says Raphael House Board Chair Kate Smith.  “Raphael House will build upon the long-term success of its program to help an additional 200 at risk families in our community each year, increasing the total number of families who will benefit from our program to 500, by 2017.” With a significant contribution by Marc and Lynne Benioff and a growing group of additional donors, Raphael House has already raised approximately two-thirds of the $3 million fundraising goal for the Foundations for Families Campaign“We’ve been impressed with Raphael House’s rapid response to the growing number of homeless families in San Francisco, says Lynne Benioff. We are honored to support the expansion of their shelter and staff to accommodate more families and applaud their success in helping homeless families achieve long-term stability.” Raphael House will hold a series of fundraising events over the next several months to elicit additional support for the campaign from individuals, corporations, foundations, and community organizations. In keeping with its long-standing model of being 100% privately funded, Raphael House will seek funding for the campaign from non-government sources only. Those interested in supporting or learning more about the Raphael House Foundations for Families Campaign should contact Jenna Ervice at 415.345.7266.

About Raphael House

Since 1971, Raphael House has been at the forefront of providing Bay Area families experiencing or at risk for homelessness the personalized family-centered solutions they need to build brighter futures. Raphael House is a 100% privately funded and community-supported organization. Our success rate is unmatched: 85% of all Raphael House families go on to achieve long-term stable housing and financial independence. With a spirit of warmth, compassion, and kindness at its core, Raphael House offers families short-term residential shelter and rental assistance, intensive ongoing case management, and a continuum of supportive services, such as career development and job placement, mental health counseling, financial literacy workshops, children’s services, K–12 academic tutoring and mentoring, academic and extracurricular scholarships, and family social activities aimed at strengthening the family bond. Raphael House has served nearly 20,000 children and parents since first opening its doors.

Media Contact

Kim Lessard Sr. Manager of Communications 415.345.7264 (Print this press release)

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