Transforming SF: THE FUTURE OF HOMELESSNESS | Mechanics' Institute

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A discussion of what's happening on the street level to resolve homelessness

San Francisco's homeless population hasn't grown significantly in recent years, but tent encampments and increasing gentrification have raised tensions over public safety, human dignity and quality-of-life issues. New ideas like modular housing and Navigation Centers show promise, but are current resources and policies robust enough to reduce the number of people living on our streets? If not, what needs to change?

Panelists include Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director, Coalition on Homelessness; Sam Dodge, SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing; Julie Chronister, PhD, CRC, Coordinator, Rehabilitation Counseling Program, San Francisco State University; Don Falk, CEO, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation.


Julie Chronister, PhD, is a Professor of Counseling at San Francisco State University. Her research and professional achievements focus on improving the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable and historically marginalized communities including those who are homeless and living with serious psychiatric conditions. She began her career in Roxbury, MA, running non-profit programs designed to improve health, access, and psychosocial support services for persons with psychiatric conditions, drug addiction, and homelessness. She has published over 40 articles, presented at numerous national conferences, and edited two books. She has received several federally funded grants including funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop a psychometrically valid and clinically useful social support measure for persons with serious psychiatric conditions. Through her research, teaching and community partners, Dr. Chronister is committed to social justice by improving the lives of those disabled by society, including those with multiple health and mental health conditions who are living in poverty, without homes, and marginalized by society.

Sam Dodge is the Deputy Director at San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. As the Director of the Mayor's Office of HOPE, he coordinated the City and County of San Francisco's response to homelessness. A graduate of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, he has worked as a labor organizer for the California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union.

Donald S. Falk, who is Chief Executive Officer of Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), leads the community-based, nonprofit housing development, management and social services agency in San Francisco with nearly 325 employees and 33 properties containing about 3000 homes housing nearly 3600 people, nearly 25% of whom came to the organization out of homelessness. From 1982-1994, Falk held a variety of positions with Jubilee West, a neighborhood based nonprofit that provides services and housing in West Oakland. He chairs the Community Leadership Council and serves on the Boards of Directors of Enterprise Community Partners and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. He serves on advisory boards of NeighborWorks America, St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. He is the past president of the Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California, on whose board he served for seven years. Falk has a master's degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree with honors in Economics and Urban Studies from Oberlin College.

Jennifer Friedenbach is the Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco. She also served as Executive Director of the Hunger and Homeless Actino Coalition of San Mateo County. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business and Cultural Anthropology from San Diego State University.

Walter Thompson (Moderator) is a journalist who's worked in tech startups for two decades. He's the Community Editor for Hoodline, a hyperlocal news service, his work has appeared in San Francisco Magazine, and he's working on Golden City, a documentary about how technology has transformed housing and transportation in San Francisco.


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4th Floor Meeting Room
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
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