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Union Square Cares - Homeless Services

We live in a compassionate city but all community sectors -private, public, and the non-profit- need to work together to help individuals who are suffering on our streets. There are no simple solutions to a complex problem.

 
 

The City and County of San Francisco prioritizes services for the homeless in many ways: through supportive housing units, increased medical respite beds, comprehensive services that include substance abuse and mental health treatment, and innovative programs like the City’s Navigation Center. Union Square Cares is a community building campaign by the Union Square Foundation that provides compassionate and humane outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness by contracting with local nonprofits to provide workforce development opportunities, a pathway to housing, and strategies to connect people with long lost friends and family members. 

 

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How Union Square Cares Works: 

 

Partnership


 

Partnership #1:
Meet the Union Square Downtown Streets Team

 

DST Team

 

Just Say Hi Campaign 

 

We’re here to work together towards ending homelessness. But when facing such a deeply-embedded societal problem, knowing the first step can be difficult. However, in consultations with our homeless folks, they've let us know the first step can be simple acknowledgment. We can start by trying to eliminate the social hesitation around acknowledging homeless people.

This is why we are inviting everyone to come say hi to our Team Members, folks who are volunteering to clean up our San Francisco community, as they collaborate with our Staff to find employment, housing and an end to homelessness as the status quo.

 

Union Square Partnership: DST's Achievement Overview
Icon Depicting Employment at Downtown Streets Team
Employment

28 team members received full-time employment! 

Housed
Team members housed

17 team members received housing! 

Debris Collection
Debris Collection

Team members collected 90,250 lbs! 

Needle Removal
Needle Removal

Team members removed 3,355 needles!



Partnership #2:
Miracle Messages

Through peer-to-peer outreach, formerly homeless individuals and other volunteers head out onto the streets and alleys around the Union Square area and provide a friendly face to reach out to those in need. Volunteers start by asking simple questions such as:

  • What is your name?
  • Where are you from?
  • How long have you been homeless?
  • Is there a family member or friend you haven't seen in a while that you need help re-connecting with?
     
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Once the conversation develops, volunteers then ask if they can record a short video of the homeless individual asking their long lost loved ones for help. Finally, volunteers take all the data provided and create a ‘Miracle Message’ in order to search for relatives and friends online using social media.


Since launching in Union Square on October 2018:

  • 151 hours of outreach
  • 38 messages have been recorded
  • 20 messages have been successfully delivered to friends and relatives
  • 11 reunions have occurred
     


Miracle Messages Success: Wayne's Story

Volunteers met a homeless individual, Wayne, at the Powell Street BART station near Union Square. He requested help to get in touch with his mother and sister, with whom had hadn't spoken in 16 years. The volunteers were able to get through to Wayne's niece after discovering that Wayne’s mother had sadly passed away. Upon receiving a message, Wayne’s family drove up to San Francisco to meet Wayne and they have since been meeting regularly. The family is working together to help find Wayne a long-term housing option. This past holiday season, Wayne celebrated with his family, the first time that the family had all been together for the holidays in 20 years.

 

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Union Square Cares- Call
Call

If you see someone in need, please call Union Square Cares Member Services/Dispatch at 415-781-4456 or email cleanandsafe@unionsquarebid.com

Contribute
Contribute

Help us continue building partnerships with local nonprofits to provide direct services to individuals in need. Donate today!

Connect
Connect

To learn more about the Union Square Foundation and all programs and projects, click here

Media
Media

We love sharing success stories with the community! To schedule an interview and district walk with the Union Square Foundation, DST, and Miracle Messages teams, contact Robbie Silver, Director of Marketing and Public Realm

Community Resources
Community Resources

The San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team - The San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team or SF HOT provides outreach, case management and services to homeless people who are on the street and not using other city homeless services. If you are concerned about a homeless person in San Francisco, you can reach the SF HOT dispatcher 24/7 directly at 415.355.7401 to make a report. Please describe the individual and give the location to connect the with our City’s trained professionals. For any other related or public matter, you can also dial 3-1-1 for San Francisco’s Customer Service Center system or download the SF311 mobile app.