Best organization for helping the mentally ill homeless in San Francisco
January 16, 2013 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to donate some money to an organization that helps mentally ill homeless people in San Francisco. Which organization would give me the most "bang for my buck"?

I would rank my preferences in this order :

1) Efficient, well-run organization with the resources and experience to do the most good for the greatest number of homeless people
2) An organization that specifically helps homeless people in SF
3) An organization that specifically focuses on helping the mentally ill homeless

Also, given a set amount of money, which would make my money go further? One big donation to a single organization, or several smaller donations to a number of organizations?
posted by Afroblanco to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
No specific ideas for you on organization but I will mention that it will take the organizations the same amount of time and energy to process 1 large gift as it does 1 small gift - so the single gift is more efficient. This isn't to say that you shouldn't split your gift but just to be mindful about how small the individual donations become as you do it.
posted by oneear at 2:30 PM on January 16, 2013

The San Francisco Bar Assocation, to support the Homeless Advocacy Project?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:33 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Three organizations that I contribute to (because I think they are effective and well-run and efficient, and have worked directly with them at one point or another) that would meet your criteria are:

Coalition on Homelessness
At the Crossroads
Homeless Youth Alliance

I also really love the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, and have supported them in the past.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:54 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came in to give the exact same answer that gingerbeer gave.
posted by trip and a half at 3:02 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's my similar question in 2005.
posted by Nelson at 3:27 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp is a nonprofit (don't be fooled by the name) that builds and staffs supportive housing (housing with mental health support and social services on site) to house the homeless.
posted by animalrainbow at 6:25 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great suggestions already. Regarding ways to make your money go farther: The Northern California Community Loan Fund takes investments of as little as $1,000 into its revolving loan fund, which finances other nonprofits' projects addressing the needs of low-income communities in Northern California; a lot of these serve homeless and/or mentally ill people in San Francisco. If you invest money there, it will get used over and over by different organizations as they borrow and repay it. NCCLF has helped finance Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation housing projects and other organizations' projects serving homeless and mentally ill people in the Tenderloin, Bayview/Hunters Point, and other distressed neighborhoods in San Francisco.
posted by gum at 8:42 PM on January 16, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you for the help! Some great suggestions so far. I think I'm probably going to donate to a bunch of different charities. Since they all have slightly different approaches, I feel like if I support a bunch of them, I stand the greatest chance of helping the most people.

Tell me -- what do you all think about Glide and Project Homeless Connect? I know Glide has a religious affiliation. Do they push religion on their clients, generally? Or are they cool about that?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:46 PM on January 16, 2013

Glide is a Methodist church and they do not evangelize in their social services. I know a bunch of people who work there, and none of them are at all religious (or even members of the church, as far as I know). The church as a church and the social service and housing programs are pretty separate.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:29 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

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