*** PRESS RELEASE ***
MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES HANDUP GIFT CARD EXPANSION TO NEW RETAIL AND REDEMPTION LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE CITY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, December 19, 2016
Contact: Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing: 415-554-7755
HandUp gift cards will be available for sale in retail locations throughout the City and redeemable by people in need of services at three new sites.
San Francisco, CA— Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) announced the expansion of HandUp’s Gift Card program to retail locations throughout the City. Additionally, HandUp Gift Cards will now be redeemable for services at three new resource centers in locations throughout the city.
“The HandUp gift cards are a great way to give and connect people to services and resources they need most,” said Mayor Lee. “With the holidays fast approaching, the Hand Up gift card expansion couldn’t have come at a better time.”
HandUp Gift Cards are physical cards with a $25 value that can be given directly to people experiencing homelessness and in-need who can redeem them at participating service providers for HandUp Gift Cards can be exchanged for a range of goods and services including retail and restaurant gift cards such as for Goodwill or Subway, or payment of other expenses like bus passes, or paying a cell phone bill.
Gift cards will be available for purchase online and at the Hall and Equator Coffee and Teas locations. HandUp launched the Gift Card program in partnership with Project Homeless Connect and Glide.
“I started HandUp after passing a woman sleeping on the street and wanting to do more to help,” said Rose Broom, co-founder and CEO of HandUp “With HandUp Gift Cards you can give directly to a specific person experiencing homelessness in your community, and connect them with vital resources like food and clothing.”
Google.org has been a major HandUp partner and helped them be able to scale. In addition Google.org and other companies have purchased gift cards in bulk for San Francisco based employees to give to people they see in need on the street. “Since 2014, Google.org has given over $13M to Bay Area organizations innovating in their approach to combat homelessness,” said Justin Steele of Google.org. “HandUp was among Google.org’s first grantees in this work, and we are proud to have helped HandUp reach 46 local nonprofits and improve the lives of over 6,400 individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty.”
Partnerships with non-profit providers are key to what makes the HandUp gift cards effective. Non-profit providers pair gift card donations with services. “HandUp is an effective way to give and make real change in an individual’s life. By donating through Hand Up gift cards, you are investing in your community. You are saying all San Franciscans have value,” said Kara Zordel, Executive Director of Project Homeless Connect. “Not only does your donation connect an individual to life changing resources, you connect them to a community non-profit. This connectivity ensures each person receives individualized care so participants may obtain all of the resources they need to move forward.”
Through this expansion, gift cards will now also be redeemable at the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, United Council of Neighborhood Services and MSC South. Resource centers that partner with HandUp, accept the cards and exchange them for basic goods and services. Recipients are able to take care of their needs and also get connected with other resources. “The gift card expansion will give us one more tool to help connect people to vital resources,” said Jeff Kositsky “Resource centers offer people on the streets both mundane services like showers and haircuts but also important service connections like housing and benefits assistance.”
“Right now is a time when communities need to come together more than ever to support our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Sammie Rayner, co-founder and COO of HandUp. “I recently gave a HandUp Gift Card to a young man who wanted money for work boots so he could get a construction job. After bringing his gift card to Project Homeless Connect, he was able to not only put the money toward his work boots, but also learn about other valuable resources the city has to offer.”
New Retail Partners
The Hall SF, 1028 Market Street
Equator Coffee and Teas, 986 Market Street
Equator Coffee and Teas, 222 2nd Street
New Redemption Centers
Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, 165 Capp Street
MSC South/St. Vincent de Paul, 525 5th Street
United Council of Neighborhood Services, 2111 Jennings
About the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing: The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) aims to make homelessness in San Francisco rare, brief and a one-time occurrence through the provision of coordinated, compassionate and high-quality services. Established in 2016, HSH consolidates and coordinates citywide homeless serving programs and contracts. For more information please visit: http://dhsh.sfgov.org
About Hand Up: HandUp helps you give directly to people experiencing homelessness and poverty in your community. Whether online at HandUp.org, or through HandUp Gift Cards that let you give to homeless neighbors on the street, give with HandUp to see the direct impact of your donations. To date HandUp has raised over $1.7 million for homelessness and poverty programs across more than 30 U.S. cities. For more information please visit: http://handup.org