How Raphael House is Working Remotely With Homeless & At-Risk Families During COVID-19

Apr 9 2020
Raphael House

Above: Our Career Development Manager Stephanie Perez (left) and Estella work on academic goals over FaceTime from home

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, Raphael House is continuing its supportive services that help at-risk and homeless families make strides towards their housing, financial, and academic goals. Here’s just one way we’re continuing our work to keep families safe and stable.

In Pursuit of a Dream: Estella’s Story

When their Bay Area rental home was suddenly sold, Estella and her 1-year-old son found themselves homeless. With nowhere to go, the family soon found refuge, support, and community in Raphael House’s Residential Shelter.

Six months later through the support of her Raphael House case managers, the family found housing in the heart of San Francisco. Determined to never become homeless again, Estella found jobs cleaning homes and taking care of the elderly.

When her son entered elementary school, Estella volunteered to be a teaching assistant. The kids soon picked up that she spoke Spanish and were eager to learn new words, eventually calling her Maestra, which translates into “teacher.”

Estella couldn’t help but laugh and told herself, “I’m no teacher. I never even attended school in my life!” Her family was too poor to send her to school in her hometown in Mexico.

This inspired Estella to become an elementary school teacher. In 2010, she enrolled in classes at a local community college to earn her high school diploma. After 9 years of hard work, she achieved this goal and is now pursuing an Associate degree in Child Development.

The post-shelter Bridge Program at Raphael House also connected her with a private tutor named Julia, who taught her Algebra using beans.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Estella continues to work remotely with Raphael House’s Career Development Manager Stephanie Perez and our volunteer ESL Tutor Grace Carballo.  Just recently, Stephanie connected her to our community partners at Code Tenderloin, who gave Estella a laptop to continue to her studies! Using technology, Stephanie and Grace can provide Estella with weekly support she needs to finish her coursework and pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.

Despite many challenges Raphael House is facing during this time, the love and support we offer families like Estella’s is unwavering. We are grateful to have such a dedicated team working directly with families like Estella’s to meet their goals, but we are especially proud of Estella for putting in the hard work during such a challenging time.



From Our Executive Director

Thank you to everyone who has supported our staff to ensure we have the funds and resources needed to continue our work during this crisis. 

With so much uncertainty ahead of us, combined with the postponement of our annual Gala, which raises over $800,000 and accounts for 25% of our budget, we urgently need your help to continue providing services that keep families like Estella’s on track to meet their goals.

Donate Today


We are grateful to a longtime donor who has gone above and beyond to provide a $200K matching gift. This means gifts from new donors and increases in gift size from existing donors will be matched dollar for dollar up to $200,000.

We are asking you to enable Raphael House to do everything that we can to help families like Estella’s without interruption. Please make a donation today—we need your support to meet this challenge.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our Emergency Relief Fund. We appreciate your generosity and spirit of community.

With Appreciation,

Marc Slater
Raphael HouseExecutive Director

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