Hamilton Families: 5 Things I Learned While Visiting

hamiltonRecently¬†I had the opportunity to visit the shelter program for Hamilton Families on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. In 2015 there were an estimated 1,303 homeless families living in San Francisco.¬†“Hamilton Families is a nonprofit organization with the mission of ending family homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

1) The shelter houses families for 3-6 months with the goal of rapid rehousing.

2) Hamilton has a housing search and real estate team that partners with landlords using a database that tracks available units for a large chunk of Northern California.

3) 33% of families are ultimately rehoused in San Francisco, the other 67% find homes in places like the East Bay, Vallejo, and Sacramento.

4) Hamilton conducts background checks for landlords and pays part of the rent for families transitioning back into housing.

5) There are over 2,000 students in the San Francisco Unified School District without secure homes. Hamilton does considerable outreach to schools, providing site-based social service support for homeless students.

Hamilton Families plays an essential role in ending family homelessness in San Francisco. To learn more about their life-changing work, please visit:https://hamiltonfamilies.org

Special thanks to Debbie Wilber and Rachel Kenemore for hosting my visit to Hamilton Families.


What is Leadership San Francisco?

lsf2I recently returned from our Leadership San Francisco opening orientation and retreat held at the Chaminade Resort and Spa in Santa Cruz.

“Leadership San Francisco is an organization dedicated to educating and developing community trustees who will make a significant contribution to strengthen and transform our community (San Francisco).”

LSF was established in 1985, with notable alumni including Larry Baer, CEO of the San Francisco Giants, David Chiu, Politician, and Patricia Wilson, CEO of Make-A-Wish.

The orientation was an eclectic gathering of altruistic individuals from diverse backgrounds. Our group has people with San Francisco government, the Golden State Warriors, UCSF, and the Coca-Cola Company, among many others.

We engaged in a variety of activities that introduced us to one another, while focusing on team-building skills. We also explored the role that trust and open communication play in decision making. Each activity was followed by time for reflective debriefing.

Essential to the orientation was our program selection session. During this time we met in small groups sharing and debating the most important issues currently facing San Francisco. Top choices were then brought to the entire group of 64 LSF participants for consideration. Through a delicate process of facilitation and articulation, we came up with the topics like Housing, Transit, Homelessness, and Education, among others. Over the course of the next months, LSF participants will plan full-day sessions on their topics.

In the past, members of LSF have continued their work after the program’s conclusion. For example, the LSF class of 1992 raised $200,000 to start the Tenderloin After School Program.

I left the retreat thoroughly engaged and inspired. I am a member of the Homelessness program session and look forward to the work ahead.

Special thanks to Executive Director, Dianne Easton and facilitators, Jon Ballesteros, Brenda Guidry-Brown, Eric T. McDonnell, and Gary E. Montague.

To learn more about Leadership San Francisco, please visit: