Help Fight Homelessness at the St. Francis Homelessness Challenge
With it being this cold and wet outside I can’t help but think about our homeless neighbors who are sleeping in the streets. City Hall doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it, but luckily some people are being proactive. Read the press release below and get involved:
On January 2, 2016, Amy Farah Weiss, 2015 mayoral candidate and community organizer, and Ken Fisher of RouteHome will team up with dozens of city-wide volunteers and local organizations to showcase a proof of concept for a pilot project intended to serve unhoused neighbors on underutilized public land. The free event will take place at SOMArts at Brannan and 8th St. from 10am – 6pm. The showcase is part of a larger campaign for taking action to heal the city’s homelessness crisis called “The Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge.”
From 10AM-12PM volunteers will construct a 12.5’ diameter dome shelter designed by Eric Lipson of DecaDome. The DecaDome will be utilized as a “Healing Hub”, a service hub from 1:30-5:30PM for group acupuncture and workshops. RouteHomes, attractive micro structures made from woodenshipping containers provided for free from a local tech company, will be used as “Sleep Sanctuaries.” Additional services include:
- Noon-6PM: Free meals, sock giveaway, phone-charging, monitored port-a-potty
- 1:30-4:30: Free acupuncture
- 1:30-3:30: Free training on compassionate communication and de-escalation on the streets of San Francisco
- 1-4 pm: TEAM Marketing Group, an authorized dealer of Budget Mobile, will help homeless neighbors apply for and receive activated mobile phones
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The prototype presented on January 2nd will serve as an example of a pop-up off-grid service hub that would provide needed support for secure sleep, hygienic toileting, and increased access to healing, harm reduction, and transition services – all while improving livability and cost-effectiveness for the larger community. Weiss and Fisher hope to begin working with city officials in order to identify public land that could benefit from sanctioned monitoring, enhanced service offerings, and beautification.
The Homelessness Challenge is named after Francis of Assisi, the namesake of San Francisco, who once said: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Weiss notes, “It is not only necessary and possible for San Francisco to provide increased access to secure sleep, hygienic toileting, and healing and transitional services for our homeless population – it is also more cost-effective than the status quo of criminalizing homelessness.”
One of the key aspects of the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge is its unique emphasis on broad community involvement in solving the crisis. To get more involved, people can start by taking an online quiz at www.saintfrancischallenge.com to test their current knowledge of homelessness in San Francisco. Since launching the quiz in mid-December, over 75% of the 115 San Francisco participants noted that they learned something new and/or challenged previously held misconceptions by taking the quiz.
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