Episcopal Community Services (ECS) operates three different forms of Interim Housing for adults experiencing homelessness in San Francisco: Sanctuary Shelter, the Interfaith Winter Shelter, and Sheltering in Place (SIP) or Project RoomKey hotels.
The original model of service was shelters, which focused on providing guests with a place to sleep at night accompanied by hot meals. Depending on the location, showers, laundry services, and socializing activities were included, as well as clinical services via San Francisco Shelters Treatment Access and Resource Team (SF-START). In time, ECS operated two shelters in San Francisco—Sanctuary (located in the South of Market neighborhood) and Next Door (in Polk Gulch).
Beginning in 2015, San Francisco added Navigation Centers to the Interim Housing options, and in partnership with San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, ECS opened the first Navigation Center in the Mission. These facilities provided all the amenities of the traditional shelter, along with intense case management and support services, as well as accommodating couples and pets. The intensive services focused on stabilizing the guests and guiding them into supportive housing.
Throughout the city, various models of shelter also addressed the individual needs of persons experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.
Changes in Response to the COVID-19 Epidemic
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the dangers the virus presented to the vulnerable community of individuals experiencing homelessness, the City of San Francisco, and its partners like ECS reorganized interim housing services to prevent the transmission of the virus in congregate settings. Navigation Center and shelter guests were given single rooms in Project RoomKey hotels secured in partnership with the State of California. Subsequently, all San Francisco Navigation Centers were closed. Additionally, the Next Door Shelter was also closed. The Sanctuary Shelter remains open with a much smaller maximum capacity.
Episcopal Community Services now serves individual adults and couples in eight Project RoomKey Sheltering in Place (SIP) sites in San Francisco, as well as Sanctuary.