Now in its 33rd year, the Interfaith Winter Shelter Program opened Sunday — and is expected to conclude on March 26, 2022 — increasing SF's temporary housing capacity for people experiencing homelessness.
Winter in San Francisco is particularly fatiguing. Not only does the season see the city's wettest month on average, temperatures between December and March regularly dip into the low-40s at night. In fact: Winter is, statistically speaking, the deadliest month for most unhoused people — even in Los Angeles.
San Francisco Announces Opening of Interfaith Winter Shelter Program - https://t.co/dwWGJQ5KMN— Mayor London Breed's Press Office (@MyrPressOffice) November 19, 2021
But starting today and running through March 26, 2022, SF's Interfaith Winter Shelter Program will rotate available beds between four religious facilities (and provide meals prepared and served by multiple congregations), offering respite to San Franciscans in need of shelter.
“As we continue to move forward with our Homelessness Recovery Plan and create thousands of new housing placements for homeless residents, there is still the immense need for everyone to do their part to provide immediate shelter for people to go to,” said Mayor Breed in a press release Friday. “During the difficult winter season, it is our responsibility as a city and community to ensure that everyone has a safe and warm place to sleep at night. I want to thank our local faith organizations for opening their doors and making this program possible.”
Between 2019 and 2021, San Francisco increased its available number of shelter beds from 3,495 to 5,080 units. The Interfaith Winter Shelter Program will see between 20 to 67 cots added to the city’s stock, depending on the site. Speaking of the said sites: host locations will include Canon Kip Senior Center, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Trinity St. Peters Episcopal Church, and First Unitarian Universalist Church.
There is always a way for you to help feed San Franciscans in need. Follow our partners to see how you can help your community: @MOWSF @stanthonysf @salvationarmysf @SFMFoodBank #hhweek pic.twitter.com/FyTfydDeXt— SF Dept. of Homelessness & Supportive Housing (@SF_HSH) November 20, 2021
Due to COVID-19, the program will not accept any self-referrals this year; all cots will be allocated through the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH), per its guest placement team. Referrals will also be made through the department — but the program will "serve anyone in need of shelter, providing two meals a day, with dinner service mostly provided through Interfaith and coordinated volunteers."
“I am deeply grateful to the San Francisco Interfaith Council, Episcopal Community Services, and the faith community for once again meeting the challenges of a difficult year, to provide expanded congregate shelter capacity and warm meals this winter,” said Shireen McSpadden, HSH’s executive director. “With our partners, this winter we will continue to offer each guest dignity, meals, and connection to the City’s Homelessness Response System.”
For more information on the Interfaith Winter Shelter Program, which will be operated by Episcopal Community Services, visit sfgov.org/services/shelter/emergencyshelter.
Top Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons