• Hamilton Family Center is established by Hamilton United Methodist Church as an emergency overnight homeless shelter for families. Located on Waller Street in the Haight-Ashbury District, the shelter operates nightly from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am and is staffed entirely by church volunteers.


  • Hamilton Family Center (HFC) is incorporated as a nonprofit separate from Hamilton United Methodist Church and the first paid staff are hired.


  • HFC hires staff to provide health care and follow-up services on-site in a program that eventually becomes a separate agency, Homeless Prenatal Program.


  • Reverend Jesse Jackson spends a night in the shelter, bringing national attention to family homelessness and Hamilton Family Center.


  • Mental health clinicians are hired to provide therapy to children in the shelter. By 1997, this program becomes a separate agency, Homeless Children’s Network.
  • HFC opens a learning center through a literacy grant from the San Francisco Giants. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young plays Santa for children in the shelter at HFC’s holiday party.


  • HFC is a founding member agency of the Family Shelter Alliance.
  • Partnering with the National Parks Service, HFC opens a cottage in the Marin Headlands for homeless children to be able to experience nature and the outdoors. This program eventually becomes a separate agency, Home Away from Homelessness.


  • HFC purchases land in San Francisco’s Panhandle neighborhood to build transitional housing for families experiencing homelessness.


  • HFC opens a housing and aftercare program with funding from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing assistance to homeless families.


  • HFC’s Transitional Housing Program opens at 1631 Hayes Street.
  • HFC receives a “Best Practices” Award from the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.


  • HFC opens Hamilton Family Residences at 260 Golden Gate Avenue with capacity to provide shelter to 150 people each night for up to 3 months, while the original shelter on Waller Street, now named Hamilton Family Emergency Center, continues to provide overnight and 60-day shelter for up to 70 people nightly.


  • The Schwab Foundation grants $150,000 to HFC for a pilot project to transform its housing and aftercare program further towards a Housing First approach to serving homeless families.


  • HFC reworks its housing and aftercare program into First Avenues – Housing Solutions for Families to strategically focus on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.
  • HFC’s emergency shelter moves out of its original Waller Street location into 260 Golden Gate Avenue, bringing the emergency shelter and 3-month shelter programs under the same roof, known together as Hamilton Family Residences & Emergency Center.


  • HFC joins Homeless Prenatal Program, Catholic Charities and Compass Family Services in forming the Family Eviction Prevention Collaborative, which works to prevent family homelessness through rental subsidies to avoid eviction.
  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness honors HFC with a national award recognizing “strides in utilizing the Housing First strategy to end homelessness for countless families in the Bay Area.”


  • HFC receives two major grant awards through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide rental subsidies to 135 families over three years.


  • First Avenues moves out of the shelter and opens its own offices at 253 Hyde Street, San Francisco.
  • HFC celebrates its 25th Anniversary by honoring US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with a Poverty Prevention Award.
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson visits HFC’s shelter and is the keynote speaker at a gala to benefit the agency.


  • The Salesforce Foundation and the SF Mayor’s Homeless Fund contribute a combined $1.333 million to HFC’s First Avenues program to house more than 60 homeless families.


  • HFC is a founding member agency of the Homeless Emergency Service Providers Association that works with City government in advocating for improved services and housing for homeless families and individuals in San Francisco.
  • Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, and his wife Lynne Benioff donate $230,000 to HFC’s efforts to end family homelessness.


  • HFC creates Project EveryChild, a plan to dramatically increase eviction prevention and rapid-rehousing services to reduce the waiting list for families to access emergency shelter to zero by 2017.


  • California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom receives a Poverty Prevention Award from HFC for his groundbreaking work to advance the Housing First model in homeless services in San Francisco. The award was presented at a reception in the home of Ann and Gordon Getty.
  • The US Dept. of Veterans Affairs awards a contract to HFC to provide housing assistance and supportive services to veteran families.
  • Google.org donates $1 million to HFC in support of our innovative partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District to reduce homelessness in our schools. Other individuals, corporations and foundations contribute nearly $1 million more to support this work.


  • HFC opens an office in Oakland for its First Avenues program to better serve homeless families in San Francisco who have found affordable housing outside of San Francisco. This office also houses HFC’s newly formed real estate team that locates housing opportunities for the families we serve.
  • HFC receives a contract to provide housing search, rental assistance and support services to homeless families receiving CalWORKs.