Our History

Episcopal Community Services traces its origin back to 1894 and the Mission of the Good Samaritan, later named Canon Kip Community House, a small relief center on Second Street. For nearly a century, this mission offered services to the most vulnerable in our community. In 1983, the Episcopal Sanctuary was formed in response to a growing number of people sleeping on the streets of San Francisco. Six years later, Canon Kip and the Sanctuary merged to form Episcopal Community Services as we know it today. Since its inception, ECS has led the way with innovative responses to addressing homelessness that honor the innate dignity and worth of all people. Today ECS has become San Francisco’s largest provider of housing and homeless services, with a continuum of care that includes housing, interim housing, crisis intervention services, education and vocational training, and two of the City’s homeless Navigation Centers.

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1894

THE MISSION OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN

ECS traces its origin to the Mission of the Good Samaritan, the first community welfare undertaking of the Episcopal Diocese of California. Under the leadership of the Reverend William Kip III, the center offered services for San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents and a boys’ night school “to counter the life of a homeless boy living on a dollar and a half a week." When Rev. Kip died in 1902, the center was renamed Canon Kip Memorial Mission in his memory.

1906

DESTROYED BY FIRE AND EARTHQUAKE

The Canon Kip Memorial Mission was the first diocesan entity to reopen after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Its work was divided. The clinic and day nursery remained at Second Street, while the boys’ school and immigrant services became the Mission of the Good Samaritan at 25th Street and Potrero Avenue.

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1944

CANON KIP MISSION EXPANDS

The Canon Kip Mission, now called the Canon Kip Community House, moved to a new site at 8th and Natoma. Under the leadership of the Rev. Henry Ohlhoff, it expanded its clinic, nursery, and food and clothing distribution, eventually adding youth recreation and senior services.

1975

CANON  KIP SENIOR CENTER BEGINS

Canon Kip Community House extended its services to the elderly residents of SOMA in addition to maintaining high-quality youth programs.

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1983

A SHELTER IS STARTED...

In response to the growing number of people sleeping on the streets of San Francisco, Grace Cathedral began sheltering 40 adults nightly in the cathedral basement, with the support of volunteers from other Episcopal parishes. The shelter became known as the Episcopal Sanctuary and moved to Canon Kip Community House.

1986

A NEW HOME

The Episcopal Sanctuary expanded and moved to its present location at 8th and Howard, where it continues to provide interim housing for 200 homeless adults every day and night.

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1989

EPISCOPAL COMMUNITY SERVICES IS BORN

The Canon Kip Community House and the Episcopal Sanctuary merged to form Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco. After the Loma Prieta earthquake, ECS doubled its number of shelter beds by opening MSC-North (now called Next Door Shelter) and by partnering with the San Francisco Interfaith Council to create the Interfaith Winter Shelter.

1994

CANON KIP COMMUNITY HOUSE IS BUILT

ECS opened the new Canon Kip Community House (replacing the original earthquake-damaged structure), as the first newly-constructed supportive housing facility in San Francisco. The new Canon Kip contains housing for 104 formerly homeless adults, as well as the Canon Kip Senior Center and the Adult Education Center for homeless adults.

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1997

CHEFS

ECS introduced its acclaimed culinary training program, CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services.)

1999-2000

ECS PROVIDES SERVICES FOR SROS

ECS partnered with the City of San Francisco to provide housing and services for formerly homeless adults at three SRO hotel properties in SOMA and the Tenderloin.

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2002

CANON BARCUS COMMUNITY HOUSE OPENS

ECS developed and opened Canon Barcus Community House, a Model supportive housing site with 47 units for families, a childcare facility, an afterschool program. case management, and many support services.

2004-2005

ECS MASTER-LEASES FIVE SRO HOTELS

ECS  master-leased five SRO hotels as part of San Francisco's "Housing First" program, enabling more than 577 homeless adults to gain the stability and safety of a home.

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2009

BISHOP SWING COMMUNITY HOUSE OPENS

Named for Bishop William E. Swing, who initiated ECS's response to homelessness 30 years ago, ECS-owned Bishop Swing Community House (275 10thSt.) is an 88,000 square foot development housing 134 formerly homeless men and women.

2015

THE NAVIGATION CENTER IS LAUNCHED

 In March 2015, ECS launched the first Navigation Center in the US and in November, took over the Henry Hotel, ECS's eleventh supportive housing site.

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2017

THE AUBURN OPENS TO HOMELESS MILITARY VETERANS

ECS opens its twelth supportive housing site, the Auburn. 70 units of supportive housing for homeless military veterans.

2018

THE MINNA LEE  

ECS opens its thirteenth supportive housing site, The Minna Lee, a 50-unit supportive housing building in the South of Market neighborhood.

BRYANT NAVIGATION CENTER  

In December 2018, ECS opens an 84 bed navigation center in the South of Market neighborhood with 20 beds designated for women

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