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Identifying High-Impact Nonprofits Addressing Homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area

May 21st, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

As of 2011,every night in America, about 750,000 people experience homelessness. Over the course of a year, 2.5 to 3.5 million people experience homelessness for a period of time (days to months). Each year, 600,000 families and 1.35 million children are homeless, making up half of the homeless population (National Alliance to End Homelessness). 

In 2009, we launched our research to identify high-impact nonprofits addressing homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area. Homelessness is a persistent problem nationwide and is an area about which many donors are passionate. Because of the large homeless population in the Bay Area, we decided to conduct research to find out which nonprofits were most effective in working with and helping this group of people. For this local cause, 83 Bay Area homelessness experts identified 13 top nonprofits working in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We are now refreshing these research results (we re-run our research every three years), and we’re inviting experts once again to help identify high-impact nonprofit addressing homelessness in the Bay Area. We hope that many of you will participate in this research to help inform individual donors about which nonprofits are making the biggest impact in Bay Area homelessness!

Scope of the Research

In this research we are asking experts to recommend up to four nonprofits doing high-impact work to help the homeless in the Bay Area, and up to two start-up nonprofits that have the potential to scale and have an impact in the future.

The nonprofits recommended might be working or supporting homeless populations as far south as San Jose, along the Peninsula, into the East Bay, in San Francisco, and just north of San Francisco, as well.

Organizations working in this arena can address the immediate and long term needs of the homeless population in a variety of ways.

These organizations include:

  • Homeless shelters
  • Housing providers
  • Policy and advocacy organizations
  • Mental health and drug treatment service providers
  • Organizations focusing on prisoner re-entry
  • Former-foster youth service providers
  • Family support service providers
  • Food providers

Participation in the Research

If you are an expert (foundation staff, researcher, nonprofit staff member, government official, etc.) working on Bay Area Homelessness we’d love to hear from you. You may have received an email from us with a link to our survey. The survey will be open until late June 2012. We hope you will share your perspective and insights! If for some reason we have missed you and you think you have a valuable perspective to offer, please contact Jasmine Marrow at, and we would be happy to send the survey to you to include your recommendations.

Additionally, we invite your feedback and thoughts about how you might frame this type of work. For those readers less familiar with this topic, we hope you learned something new and will check in again when we have the results of this research. Thank you all for your participation!



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