Downtown Streets Team
Founded in 2005, Downtown Streets Team is a nonprofit addressing homelessness by not only providing solutions to homeless men and women, but also challenging them to take an active role in their own recovery. This takes the form of having the homeless volunteer with Downtown Streets Team on beatification projects within their respective communities. In return, the volunteers or ‘Team Members’ receive necessities including a stipend, alongside vital health services and case management. The program offers a ‘ladder of success’ system where team members are able to continue to improve themselves and move up the ladder, while gaining additional work responsibilities with the potential to be promoted to managerial levels. Team members are also encouraged to share their stories with the community at schools, churches or business associations, helping to shift the negative perceptions of homelessness. The eventual goal is to transition Team Members to full time employment over the course of a year.
Downtown Streets Team is now operating in eight Bay Area communities (San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Hayward, Novato, San Rafael and Sunnyvale) and has serves over 750 homeless men and women every week. In addition, through its beautification efforts, the nonprofit has removed over 2.8 million gallons of debris in the last year alone.
Funding is different in each community, but sources can include Public Works/Parks and Recreation departments, CDBG (economic development and human services), environmental agencies (water districts, environmental services departments, EPA), corporate sponsorships, Business Improvement Districts, along with county and city funding.