Non-Profit of the Month: Hamilton Families Fights For Homeless Children

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There are few people in SF who have been untouched by the housing crisis. From budding artists to retirees, while we hear a great deal about the many adults who have been forced to relocate as prices rise, there isn’t as much noise about the impact to children and families. But in fact, that population has been hit hard, and the consequences are worse than moving to Oakland or Portland. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of homeless children in San Francisco Public Schools increased by 135%. As of 2016, roughly 1 in 25 SF children were homeless.

There are punishing consequences for children whose lives are dictated by domestic instability, and many of them have direct impact on academic success. Homeless children suffer from compromised ability to concentrate, listen in class, sit still or set goals. This leads to poor performance and decreases the likelihood that they will break the cycle of struggle into which they were born. That’s why the work of Hamilton Families – a non-profit dedicated to ending family homelessness – is so profoundly important.

While the mission of “ending family homelessness” might sound vague, Hamilton’s multi-pronged, strategic approach is probably one of the things that makes it stand out as a non-profit. “The bottom line is most of these children and families are just a product of unfortunate circumstances,” explains board member Jason Mandell. “And they need a little help from the community to get them back on their feet and moving forward. That support can make a huge difference in the life of a child.” In addition to a family shelter where parents and children can live safely for up to 6 months, the organization has a initiative to support families who are at risk of becoming homeless due to eviction or financial crisis and actually prevent homelessness before it occurs. It also provides transitional housing for those trying move out of the shelter, and substantial social services for children and parents along the way.This year, their big focus is the Heading Home campaign, which is focused on establishing permanent housing for 800 families.

The organization has help from some heavy hitters like Airbnb and the SF Giants (pun intended), but with ambitious goals and services like rent assistance, running a shelter and providing holistic family services, they need all the help they can get. And there are many ways to help.

Whether you want to do something simple like donate shelter supplies off their wishlist or make a bigger commitment by volunteering in an after-school program, the organization makes it easy to get involved. They also offer a creative list of ways to support the organization, with things as easy as collecting travel-sized toiletries when you travel.

Finally, this Friday, September 15th, Hamilton Families will host a benefit, Sharing the Harvest, at Mezzanine. If you’re planning on spending your Friday night drinking cocktails and listening to music anyway, consider this an opportunity to do the stuff you love with added benefit of being for a good cause. To make it possible for more people to get involved, even on budget, Hamilton Families is offering 40% off on tickets to our readers. Just enter the code “STUART” at registration.

Hamilton Families is offering 40% off on tickets to our readers. Just enter the code “STUART” at registration

If you’re not ready to commit to anything just yet, consider signing up for their newsletter and staying in the loop about ways you can help in the future.

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Rachel Balik - Low-Brow Luminary

Rachel Balik - Low-Brow Luminary

Rachel has explored a number of badly paying jobs over the years, including nanny, off-Broadway production assistant, philosophy grad student, journalist, teacher and assistant at a yoga studio. She is now in her best paying job as a tech marketer, but retains her broke cred by earning a fraction of what most 23-year-old male engineers do.