Twenty years ago, San Francisco was facing a housing crisis similar to the one we are witnessing today. Families with nowhere to turn found themselves without options, and without hope. In response to the increased number of homeless families, Catholic Charities St. Joseph’s Family Center opened its doors in April 1997. A collaboration between Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the City of San Francisco, the new family shelter was located South of Market at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The church had been closed due to structural damage from the Loma Prieta Earthquake in October 1989, and the archdiocese opened the large property and three of the buildings for the shelter: the rectory, the convent, and the Hall Building.
“Catholic Charities St. Joseph’s Family Center was developed to provide services to homeless families with extensive support services that include health and social services, job training, children’s activities and case management,” said Jeff Bialik, Catholic Charities executive director. “Thanks to the financial support of so many in our archdiocese, our services continue today to help families become self-sufficient by overcoming the chronic problems that cause homelessness.”
In June 2008, the shelter moved to a location in the Mission District where it continues to operate today. Over the last 20 years, St. Joseph’s Family Center has served over 1,000 families. Of the families supported, 75 percent have moved out to permanent or transitional housing. Catholic Charities Homelessness and Housing Services offers 13 programs, resulting in over 3,500 individuals who were stably housed last year alone.
“We believe that families must be supported and strengthened,” said Bialik. “By providing homeless families with a safe and supportive place to live, we are breaking the cycle of homelessness. Thank you to everyone in the archdiocese whose gifts of time, talent and treasure have made our work possible.
Learn more about how you can volunteer or make a gift at CatholicCharitiesSF.org.
Catholic Charities Sunday is the annual second collection that supports Catholic Charities. This year’s collection will be on May 13-14.
From Catholic San Francisco.