Beloved S.F. homeless nonprofit practically disappeared prior to a flood of donations buoyed it

Two months in the past, San Francisco’s beloved Gubbio Project appeared possible to go the way of so a lot of other city organizations and nonprofits combating via a soul-crushing and finance-battering pandemic. It appeared likely to quietly fold up and disappear.

But San Francisco Chronicle viewers proved to be a compassionate and generous bunch. Just after a column on the most likely finish of the nonprofit that offers a room for “sacred sleep” for homeless men and women appeared two months back, readers contributed an eye-popping $56,000 moreover one more $13,000 in pledges to donate later on.

I checked my prolonged-neglected mail pile in the newsroom recently and located an anonymous letter with $400 tucked inside of for the Gubbio Venture. I sent it to Lydia Bransten, the nonprofit’s new director, at St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Church in the Mission that hosts the Gubbio Venture.

“We’ve been having wonderful letters and checks occur in,” she claimed. “I’m incredibly uplifted by the generosity of the people of San Francisco.”

The Gubbio Project has normally been a single of my favored San Francisco nonprofits for its sweet simplicity in an overcomplicated metropolis wherever every thing costs too much, takes way too substantially time and sales opportunities to too considerably by no means-ending debate. At the Gubbio Task, staff members check out above homeless men and women as they drop into a deep rest which is really hard to reach on the city’s bustling sidewalks. They also give them socks, toiletries, treatment and love. That is it.

Thankfully, its survival appears relatively extra specified now. It’s absolutely staffed with 6 employees. It bought 60 cots to spot in the church sanctuary. Volunteers have trickled again to provide coffee and treats in the church courtyard. The Department of Community Well being despatched team to vaccinate homeless individuals against the coronavirus. Firms have sent staff members to offer you pro bono assistance with acquiring stimulus checks, even though others have delivered absolutely free foot care and massages.

“Human beings will need that link — it can help them remember that they’re cared about,” Bransten stated.

Now, 50 to 75 homeless folks are viewing the Gubbio Venture every single day, some napping inside the sanctuary whilst other individuals just come for a tranquil place to relaxation and take in.

It’s a beautiful location, but does not offer you virtually as substantially space as the Gubbio Project’s former residence at St. Boniface Church in the Tenderloin. The nonprofit delivered sacred sleep there for 17 decades with hundreds of homeless individuals stretching out on very long picket pews beneath soaring stained glass home windows and marble columns.

Wellbeing constraints throughout the COVID-19 pandemic intended the Gubbio Venture could not work, and raising cash was almost not possible. Its earlier director moved back again to Canada, it laid off its staff members and it moved its provides out of the church. The church, in switch, partnered with St. Anthony’s to operate a similar software, which will begin in September.

“I’m grateful that the church will be openings its doorways all over again, and I wish them all the ideal in their partnership with St. Anthony’s. It’s not about competition. It is about assistance,” said Bransten, obviously attempting to continue to be diplomatic after indicating in Might she was devastated to reduce the location at St. Boniface.

Del Seymour, who just rejoined the board of the Gubbio Task just after having a couple of yrs off, isn’t resigned to the nonprofit leaving the Tenderloin for very good. The so-named Mayor of the Tenderloin and co-chair of the Local Homelessness Coordinating Board explained the community needs it.

The moment homeless himself, Seymour at times slept at St. Boniface. He now operates the nonprofit Code Tenderloin, which allows folks who were formerly incarcerated, and utilised to in some cases venture into St. Boniface to just get a break from the chaotic neighborhood outside.

“I will need to convey Gubbio again to the Tenderloin — that is certainly my aim,” he said.

In any case, the Gubbio Undertaking can continue to use far more support.

People are found in the backyard garden in which the Gubbio Undertaking is giving totally free coffee and snacks for anybody trying to get a area absent from the the streets at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Stephen Lam/The Chronicle

Bransten stated she has two strange requests, moreover a plea for donations. The nonprofit is locked out of their Fb page and simply cannot feel to get assist from the organization. Any Fb worker ready to present aid? Also, Twitter for Great and the company’s caterer, Bon Appetit, donated 150 5-pound luggage of total bean espresso, but the Gubbio Task doesn’t have access to a large coffee grinder. If you can enable, allow me know.

Last of all, Bransten explained the nonprofit’s yearly operating budget is $526,000 and requires $325,000 to satisfy its obligations for the yr. To donate, volunteer or inquire about bringing sacred rest to your church, visit


There is an additional encouraging update to a former column. In Could I told you about the horrifying tale of Peter Rocha, a homeless male struggling from mental ailment who’s accused of killing 94-calendar year-previous Leo Hainzl as the aged guy walked his dog around Glen Canyon.

The alleged murder happened May 25, 2020 and a yr afterwards, a decide experienced considered Rocha way too mentally unwell to stand demo and ordered him in December to a locked state psychiatric medical center for compelled remedy that could make him properly plenty of to face a judge and jury.

But by May perhaps, he was however stuck in San Francisco County Jail the place medication is optional. He was on a waiting record of 1,523 persons accused of a criminal offense, but deemed too mentally sick to stand trial and ordered to a state medical center.

“We as a household are infuriated,” his brother, Ramiro Rocha, informed me at the time. “He’s in a psychotic state ideal now. He wants treatment.”

Ultimately, he’s in a greater position. On June 24, Rocha was moved to a point out psychiatric clinic, his general public defender verified.

Ramiro Rocha explained his brother has talked to their mom a couple times on the cellphone considering that getting transferred and that she mentioned he sounded far better.

“Sometimes with a minimal community impact, points happen,” Ramiro Rocha claimed of the go coming shortly after the column. “It’s where he desires to be. He demands to be evaluated. He needs to be medicated so I imagine it is a excellent factor.”

I’ll preserve an eye on this unhappy situation and permit you know what occurs up coming.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight appears Sundays and Wednesdays. Email: Twitter: @hknightsf

Author: iwano@_84