In 1988, the city of San Francisco pleaded for more involvement from religious organizations to help with the growing problem of homelessness. The faith community responded and in doing so created the San Francisco Interfaith Council. Partnering with Episcopal Community Services for the last 27 years, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and its congregations have worked together to augment existing shelter opportunities during the coldest months of the year (November through February). This effort provides dinner, breakfast, and a safe, warm overnight rest for up to 100 homeless men each night. With four host congregation sites and over 30 congregations providing meals, the shelter has become a leading example of interfaith cooperation within the United States and has intentionally encouraged and challenged its growing network of local congregations to open their spaces and their hearts.
Photo by Peter Lemieux
Where is the shelter?
The shelter, which moves locations monthly between St. Boniface, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Mark's Lutheran and First Unitarian, provides accommodations each night.
How does the shelter operate?
Over 30 faith congregations and schools volunteer to cook a warm meal each day. Up to 500 volunteers give their time to this important cause throughout the shelter's season. This effort would not be a success without the generous and faithful commitment of these volunteers.
Where does the money go?
The San Francisco Interfaith Winter Shelter came into existence because of vast shortages of available beds and care facilities. Due to strains on local government and political realities, public funding for the shelter continues to be very unpredictable. The San Francisco Interfaith Council once again is stepping up to give the Interfaith Winter Shelter a more solid financial foundation. The funds raised by the WinterFaith Shelter Walk will go toward shelter services and supplies including: sterilized blankets for each person, mats to sleep on, food and cleaning supplies, as well as all-night trained attendants and counseling services.
What difference does it make?
$5 can provide a sterlized blanket for a resident.
$25 can provide food and shelter for one resident for one night.
$35 can provide breakfast and dinner for a resident for one week.
$500 can provide two full meals to the entire shelter.
$750 covers the entire cost for hosting one resident an entire month.
$2500 covers all of the costs for all residents and allows the shelter to be open one additional night.
Thank you for your support!