What actually defines a lifetime of achievement? The work and the life of Jennifer Friedenbach exemplifies what it means to achieve a life of purpose, dedication, and creation of social good for others. It’s evident with her work at the Coalition on Homelessness for the past 23 years, which includes strides in substance abuse treatment and a legislative tenacity to assist the homeless population, solidifying Jennifer’s work as a pioneer in fighting injustices and poverty.
Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness, will be honored for a lifetime of achievement award by SF Tomorrow. SF Tomorrow awards individuals that have made remarkable contributions to changing urban related issues impacting San Franciscans. With a numerous of other accolades such as ‘Woman of the Year’ by the California State Assembly in 2014, San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2008, and Community Hero Award from St. Francis Hospital, Open Palm Award from Dolores Street Community Services, and Tenderchamp from Central City Hospitality House, Jennifer accepts the lifetime achievement from SF Tomorrow with humility and gratitude.
Addressing social justice issues through public policy work has continuously been a passion for Jennifer, even earlier on in her career. During her work at the Food Bank in San Mateo, it became apparent for Friedenbach that great work was needed to rectify systemic oppression in people’s ability to meet their basic needs. Through her research in “Living in the Shadows of Affluence,” Friedenbach explained, “it was at this time that it became apparent that homelessness is the intersection of more oppression. It’s essential to bring forth the voices and experiences of people experiencing homelessness to the forefront, creating opportunities for them to be involved in public policy advocacy.”
Twenty-three years at the Coalition on Homelessness is verification of Jennifer’s expertise on issues impacting the homeless population and her dedication to the cause. Friedenbach explained her longevity in the field which has been marked by a clear vision for the work that needs to be done, persistence for change, and victories that have been won for homeless people. However, the journey hasn’t been tranquil due to battles with less than empathetic public policy makers and consistent bureaucratic boxes. It’s taken a special lady such as Jennifer Friedenbach to strive for the social good of so many within a field so susceptible to burnout.
Now let’s envision a city and statewide system that ensures more housing, eliminates barriers for accessing services for people experiencing homelessness, increased system capacity for improvements, engaging those in the system to voice their concerns and implementing a system that operates from a place of love. These are all things that Jennifer envisions for the homeless population in SF Bay Area. It’s recognizable why Jennifer is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from SF Tomorrow. She has embodied the commitment and perseverance that’s needed to make the necessary social change in the community such as helping to create housing subsidies, advocating legislative reforms and funding for the homeless population. Congratulations Jennifer Friedenbach on your Lifetime Achievement Award; it’s well deserved. Thank you for all of your hard work within the community and your relentless fight for the rights of homeless people and all people.