“My mother used to always tell me, ‘Be kind to everybody, because you never know what their struggle was just to open their eyes and get up out of bed.’ And in this case,” Brenda Jackson, the Director of Safe Sleep Site, a program that serves the unhoused, explains, “they don’t have a bed, they don’t have a roof over them.” Safe Sleep Site provides tents for unhoused clients with a pathway to permanent housing. They start off in a tent, transition to an RV, and then are placed in housing. This support is vital. “A lot of our clients have been on the streets for thirty plus years. Some of them have never really experienced living in a real house,” Ms. Jackson says.
Safe Sleep Site is just one of the many invaluable programs offered through The United Council of Human Services (UCHS), a grassroots organization, that recently partnered with Felton Institute in 2022. Felton is honored to act as UCHS’s fiscal sponsor and remains committed to providing quality oversight and management for the historic organization. UCHS began in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunter’s Point in 1984 by Mother Brown who handed out homemade meals from her Cadillac Seville. In the decades since, UCHS has expanded its food programs for individuals and families as well as providing housing for the city’s veterans and unhoused populations. Ms. Jackson is grateful for Felton’s support and leadership. “I’m excited about the merger with Felton. I’m excited about Felton coming in and helping as a fiscal agent. We’ve seen a huge difference already.”
Safe Sleep Site fosters community engagement and support. “We have dominoes, we have checkers, we have ice cream socials, we have barbecues, we have Sunday football. We have a lot of sports, a lot of activities,” Ms. Jackson explains. This inclusive environment encourages clients to provide support to each other and staff as well as to share their accomplishments with the community. “What inspires me is when they come and say to me ‘what can I do for you today?’ Or ‘this is what I accomplished today’. It’s the small things that inspire me,” Ms. Jackson says.
The program creates a lifeline for clients, providing support that fosters successful outcomes. “Quite a few of our residents have gone on to get jobs. One girl got a job at Safeway and another one worked for DPW helping clean the streets,” Ms. Jackson says with pride. “They’re making really good progress. We encourage them to make small steps, small goals every day because small goals turn into big goals.” She adds, “we tell them there’s no judgment, whatever you experienced in your life. There’s no judgment here.”
For more information about UCHS’s Safe Sleep Program, you can visit the UCHS website or call UCHS at (415) 671-1100. You can email Safe Sleep Site Director, Brenda Jackson, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.
Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult, and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, Monterey, Sonoma, and Contra Costa counties. Felton’s social services and programs utilize the latest scientific research, combining cultural sensitivity, deep respect for client and staff, and a commitment to social justice.
Felton is the oldest non-sectarian and nonprofit social services provider in the City and County of San Francisco. For over a century, Felton Institute has been at the forefront of social service innovation, pioneering new approaches to meet underserved populations’ emerging needs. At the heart of our work is the belief that individuals and families in crisis must have access to services and resources to help them build on their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org