Public housing units in San Francisco: 6,138
Average monthly vacancies in 2011: 423
Homeless children in San Francisco public schools: 2,200
Households on the waiting list for public housing: 25,000 *
Although only a few families will have the good fortune of being placed in San Francisco public housing next year, the majority will continue their struggle due to the absence of basic household furnishings needed to lead healthy, productive lives. Items that we take for granted–refrigerators, kitchen tables, lamps, mattresses–are not guaranteed and are often non-existent when families move into their new homes.
At SFSmiles, we work with several Bay Area agencies that place homeless and displaced families into temporary and permanent housing facilities. These agencies alert us to a new placement, and we, in turn, respond with donated furniture, appliances, linens and other basic necessities. SFSmiles often makes deliveries directly to families in need. On such occasions, we witness, first-hand, just how critical our service is.
One family made a lasting impression on SFSmiles’ Founder Chad Christensen, who recalls the first delivery to a newly placed family in December 2010. The agency had requested a bed for a mother and baby who had just moved into an apartment in the Bay View District. When Chad arrived with a bed, he was astonished to discover that the mother had been using a pile of laundry as a makeshift crib. The only alternative would have been to put her child to sleep on the cold, bare floor. “Not only was there no bed,” Chad adds,“There really wasn’t anything…except the few articles of clothing they had with them when they moved in.”
Before he left that afternoon, Chad made a promise to the young woman: “I’ll be back soon, with a desk.” Chad recalls, “She really wanted one for her son.” Not willing to settle at just the desk, Chad and the entire SFSmiles community outreach team rallied to collect furniture, appliances, and linens- enough to furnish the entire household. After two more rounds of deliveries, that apartment finally felt like a home.
You can help SFSmiles create more homes like this one in 2012.
from all of us at SFSmiles