Who can you call during a late night crisis? The only in-person services available are police, fire, ambulance . . . and the SF Night Ministry. Our trained phone volunteers counsel the desperate. Night ministers are dispatched to meet people in coffee shops, bars, SROs, and on the streets.
We meet the most marginalized in their most vulnerable hours.
We cherish our common humanity. We do not judge or proselytize. We believe loving attention is the most precious gift one person can give to another. We value the healing power of sacred presence.
We honor dignity by responding to how each person makes meaning for themselves.
Our night ministers come from many spiritual traditions. Each minister and student wears whatever works best for their outreach of compassion. Many like the collar because it is easily recognizable. Others wear the robes or symbols of their tradition, or simply a name tag.
Not what you may think.
Spiritual care is only one aspect of an interconnected web of skillful responses to the crisis of inequities in our city and nation. Fair housing and meeting people’s basic needs are essential. Systemic racism and bias of all kinds must be addressed forthrightly and urgently.
Spiritual care is a human right.
The latest one-night count in San Francisco found 8,011 people living in homelessness in the city, 17% more than in 2017. That number does not include people in prisons, hospitals and rehabilitation centers who are counted in a supplemental tally. Adding those numbers would put the city’s homeless population closer to 10,000, 30% higher than in 2017.
Myth: Most people who are homeless came into San Francisco from another city.
Fact: In 2019, 55% of people living in homelessness reported living in San Francisco for 10 or more years, and just 6% said they’d lived in the city for less than one year.
Read more myths and facts from the SF Homeless Project of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Coalition on Homelessness also provides a collection of research papers. Check out this powerful video from Democracy Now.
How You Can Help
There are many ways to get involved: volunteering as a phone counselor or in support of our street programs; donating meals, silent auction items, and other resources; walking the streets with a night minister with your corporate team or community group; raising awareness in your own peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
We rekindle hope together with our volunteers and partners.
Pictured: Students from the University of San Francisco providing a meal of food from their cafeteria to our Tuesday Night Gathering.