The Hawkeye

A Family Home

San Francisco Shelter Provides Unique Opportunity to Homeless Families

By Caroline Pineda

Over 1,300 families in San Francisco are currently experiencing homelessness, 2.35 percent of the total number of families within the city. This number, according to statistics obtained from the 2010 Census and The Hamilton Family Center, a temporary housing program in Haight-Ashbury, has spiked in recent years due to the recession.

Hamilton is working to end family homelessness in San Francisco by 2020, utilizing a three-pillar program highlighted by rapid rehousing.

“The reason I do the work that I do is that I see the homelessness crisis in San Francisco as the biggest issue that faces our state,” said Rachel Kenemore, a Senior Development Associate at Hamilton. “I feel called to be part of the solution.”

Founded 30 years ago, Hamilton was the first family homeless shelter in the city, and since, three other organizations solely intended for families have also formed. These programs allow parents and children to stay together throughout the entire ordeal of getting back on their feet, an accommodation meant to make the already difficult time less taxing and traumatic.

The shelters are also meant to enable kids and teenagers to continue their normal school routines, and Hamilton has a computer room for students to complete their homework. This service benefits a large number of kids, as one in 25 students in the San Francisco Unified School District is experiencing homelessness, according to Kenemore. That statistic means that each school contains at least one child in that situation. Hamilton has worked with the school district to train “all staff at all schools to be able to safely and sensitively work with homeless students,” Kenemore said.

By helping these students at home and through their respective schools, Hamilton is working to ease the trauma of homelessness until the students and their families can support themselves once again.
According to Kenemore, 86 percent of Hamilton’s families entered into stable housing last year, with the assistance of their subsidy program, which pays a portion of the families’ rent until they could fully pay their own bills.

“For our housing subsidy program, the average typically goes until about 12 months, but families can stay up to 18 months,” Kenemore said.

Hamilton receives much of the money for their subsidy program and other services from government funding, but they also partner with companies such as Google and Twitter.

With the help of these partnerships, Kenemore said they have already seen progress in statistics from 2014 and 2015. Over the next few years, Hamilton hopes to expand and reach a greater number of people looking to get back on their feet, with the goal of drastically reducing family homelessness in San Francisco.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 4.23.28 PMCaroline Pineda is a junior at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A member of her student newspaper, The Talon, since freshman year, Caroline is excited to be the editor-in- chief this year and hopes to apply her experiences at NBTB to improve her school’s paper. She loves sports journalism and is considering pursuing it as a career path.


A Family Home