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Homeless shelter gets makeover: Dozens of volunteers spruce up Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco
July 31, 2015, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
Volunteers who helped remodel Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco attended an open house Wednesday.

The Safe Harbor Shelter in South San Francisco got a $100,000 makeover thanks to the support of dozens of volunteers.

The shelter, operated by Samaritan House, has new paint, new storage space, new bicycle racks, a new kitchenette and a station where the shelter’s clients can display and shop for clothes.

Safe Harbor provides emergency shelter for about 100 homeless individuals at a time. It serves about 400 individuals annually, some who are sheltered for up to seven months as they transition back into society.

The remodel was made possible by the Housing Industry Foundation’s Shelter Renovation Program.

“We wanted to make the shelter more dignified for those who stay here,” said Meta Townsley, HIF’s executive director.

She thanked the many volunteers who finished working on the project Wednesday prior to an open house.

“You get your hands dirty and make a difference,” Townsley said.

Many of the volunteers are employees of Wells Fargo, which presented HIF with a $10,000 check at the open house.

Although the price tag for the remodel was $100,000, Townsley said much of the cost was offset by contributions from companies such as Varsity Painting, BellaVista Landscape Services and AquaTek Plumbing among many others.

There was no cost to Samaritan House.

Safe Harbor helps lift people out of poverty and gives them a life of hope and self reliance, said Bart Charlow, executive director of Samaritan House.

The open house was attended by former assemblyman Gene Mullin, Pam Frisella, a 25-year Samaritan House volunteer and former Foster City mayor, and Marc Hershman, district director for state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

Many of the shelter’s inhabitants have jobs but cannot afford to live in the area, Frisella said.

“Your idea of homeless people changes dramatically if you visit. These are good people who are down on their luck,” she said.

Mullin and Hill helped secure the permits required when the shelter moved from San Mateo to its new home in South San Francisco.

“It’s hard to believe you spent only $100,000 because the place looks like a million bucks,” Hershman said about the makeover.

Through collaboration with emergency service organizations such as Samaritan House, HIF also funds emergency housing grants of up to $2,500 that provide the immediate bridge necessary to keep individuals and families in their homes.

Samaritan House’s free services include shelter; free medical and dental clinics; clothes for children; and personalized case management.


(650) 344-5200 ext. 102



Tags: shelter, house, samaritan,

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