More Than Just Organizing: A Youth’s Perspective on Working at the Coalition

My name is Yessica Hernandez. I’m 18 years old, a peer organizer at the Coalition on Homelessness and also a member of a homeless family living in an SRO. For me, homelessness is a problem that has multiple solutions, but most of the time people want to solve it by blaming the people who are homeless. 

Every day the chance of becoming homeless increases. When people talk about homelessness they mostly feel shame and pity for “those people,”


7 Budget Wins and Losses for San Francisco

In the final two days of the City’s budget process, I spent too much time at City Hall to not do some type of wrap-up of my thoughts and what came out of this year’s budget campaigns. While the budget process is a bit over my head, here are some of the pros and cons for me looking back on it. 


1. So many good things from the asks made by Our City Our Home and Service Providers!


2021 Budget at a Glance

Our budget campaign to house San Franciscans and keep San Franciscans housed has come to fruition and due to hard work and organizing, many victories were achieved for unhoused San Franciscans.  For one, the second installment of funding for Our City Our Home, Proposition C, which passed in November 2018, is about to hit the streets, and it will result in dramatic numbers of people having the opportunity to exit homelessness.  In addition, the Coalition’s Housing Justice Work Group,


The Hunger Games of Homeless Services

As coordinated entry systems try to match growing numbers of unhoused people with limited amounts of housing, it’s more like The Hunger Games than

This article was originally published in Shelterforce

Mary Kate Bacalao is the director of external affairs and policy at Compass Family Services and the co-chair of the Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association (HESPA) of San Francisco.

Mario Navarro, Compass Family Services’ office manager, … READ MORE

Open the Shelter Waitlist and Stop the Sweeps!

With Jeff Kositsky at the helm, the “Healthy Streets Operation Center” continues to traumatize homeless San Franciscans

Bureaucrats lying is nothing new, but this is a really gross one. The former head of the SF Homeless Department was caught telling SFPD to give unhoused folks a 647e misdemeanor for a tent during a pandemic when resources are so lacking that they shut down the shelter waitlist.

What I’m seeing on the streets is shocking.


A Story From a Blind Syrian Refugee

Before the war in Syria, life was great and safe. My family was happy. Since I was born completely blind, I never went to school. However, when I was 6 years old my father found a teacher who could teach me how to sing and play instruments. By 7 years old, I had started playing at some small concerts and weddings. At 9 years old, I was going from one city to another to perform.


DISCRIMINATION VACATION: the Golden Lining of Shelter-In-Place

“I can’t wait to get back to normal!”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard dozens of times during this past year of our lockdown spa, where the whining and moaning from people seems to travel farther than the reverberating calls of the South American howler monkey. Never in my life have I seen so much complaining and temper tantrums from an ultra-privileged class. It’s been surreal, like watching a bratty kitten tear up your favorite couch because you gave it a warm bath.


Being Forced Off OnlyFans

Remember when COVID hit and a lot of people lost their jobs? I am one of them, but my loss led to an amazing experience as a self-identifying disabled sex worker. 


Yes, however the United States doesn’t like disabled people or sex workers, so this was a risk that I was willing to take due to my living situation. If you aren’t disabled, then you are probably unaware of the working limitations of the disabled population of America.


Poem on Ableism

I wanna share something that I’ve personally experienced and still deal with today: Please from the bottom of my heart treat people with disabilities the same way you would treat someone without a disability! We’re the same as anyone else—we have feelings, we like to have fun, and we just wanna have a normal way of life. We didn’t choose to have a disability. Do not define someone by their disability. We’re so much more than it.


“Make People Feel Like They Matter”:

Street Medic Couper Orona Cares for Unsheltered People

“Being disabled and on the street is one of the hardest things anyone could deal with,” says Couper Orona. A retired firefighter, Couper has for many years supported the unhoused community in San Francisco as a street medic. She was injured when working as a firefighter in the Sacramento area; living with disability after a surgery and then facing homelessness after a divorce forced her to navigate a system that ignores the most vulnerable.