Grace Cathedral

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Article | June 28, 2016

Homelessness in Perspective: How Bayview Mission Fills the Needs of San Franciscans

Blog|The Rev. Canon Nina Pickerrell

I have lived in Bayview-Hunters Point for the last 16 years. The homeless population here is different from that of the inner city of San Francisco. One church in Bayview houses 100 men and 50 women every night. They provide a safe heaven.

Within the past two years, I have seen broken down mobile homes or trailers with no electricity or running water. The family members include seniors, young adults and sometimes children, trying to make a home in a vehicle tucked out of the way on less traveled streets. I see freeway underpasses full with tents, again without electricity and running water. These are communities trying to live with one another.

The Bayview-Hunters Point area of San Francisco is, I believe, the most marginalized part of the city. With all the development taking place in San Francisco right now, affordable housing is unattainable for most families. There are eight food pantries in Bayview-Hunters Point with an average attendance of 125- 300 families for each food pantry. People rely on these pantries. While million dollar homes sell like hot cakes in my neighborhood, there are four families living in a one-family single dwelling across the street from me, and squatters live in desolate, abandoned houses. 

Bayview Mission is a Special Mission of the Episcopal Diocese of California with strong support from Grace Cathedral. Our programs — Senior Program, Transitional Program for those recently homeless, Infant/Toddler Program, Veterans Program, free clothing store, and free supplies for families — all fill vast holes for goods and services for those we serve. 

What would you do?  You are at home. There is a knock at the door about 7:45 p.m. I call out, “Who is it?” and hear a reply, “It’s me; I am hungry.”  My reply, “I will meet you downstairs.” The volunteers at Bayview Mission are called to serve one another. We are not called to our judgements. We can all assist one another simply by finding the need and filling it. If you are inspired by the impressive coordinated coverage of Bay Area media through the San Francisco Homeless Project, but not sure what to do, consider volunteering with us at Bayview Mission. I would be happy to hear from you at

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