• Hamilton Families (known as Hamilton Family Center, 1985-2016) 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 Families is incorporated as a nonprofit separate from Hamilton United Methodist Church and the first paid staff are hired.


  • Hamilton 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 Families.


  • 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.
  • Hamilton Families opens a learning center through a literacy grant from the San Francisco Giants. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young plays Santa for children at the shelter holiday party.


  • Hamilton Families is a founding member agency of the Family Shelter Alliance.
  • Partnering with the National Parks Service, Hamilton 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.


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


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


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


  • Hamilton opens the Hamilton Shelter Program 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 continues to provide overnight and 60-day shelter for up to 70 people nightly.


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


  • Hamilton Families reworks its housing and aftercare program into Hamilton Housing Solutions (then, First Avenues) to strategically focus on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.
  • Hamilton’s original shelter moves out of its Waller Street location into 260 Golden Gate Avenue, bringing all shelter services under the same roof, known together as the Hamilton Shelter Program (then, Hamilton Family Residences and Emergency Center).


  • Hamilton Families 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 Hamilton Families with a national award recognizing “strides in utilizing the Housing First strategy to end homelessness for countless families in the Bay Area.”


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


  • Hamilton Housing Solutions moves out of the shelter and opens its own offices at 253 Hyde Street, San Francisco.
  • Hamilton Families celebrates its 25th Anniversary by honoring US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with a Poverty Prevention Award.
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson visits the Hamilton Shelter Program 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 Hamilton Housing Solutions to house more than 60 homeless families.


  • Hamilton 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 Hamilton’s efforts to end family homelessness.


  • Hamilton Families 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 2020.


  • California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom receives a Poverty Prevention Award from Hamilton Families 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 Hamilton Families to provide housing assistance and supportive services to veteran families.
  • Google.org donates $1 million to Hamilton Families 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.


  • Hamilton Housing Solutions opens an office in Oakland to better serve homeless families in San Francisco who have found affordable housing outside of San Francisco. This office also houses Hamilton’s newly formed real estate team that locates housing opportunities for the families we serve.
  • Hamilton Families receives a contract to provide housing search, rental assistance and support services to homeless families receiving CalWORKs.
  • In collaboration with the City & County of SF and Homeless Prenatal Program, Hamilton Families opens a new transitional housing location for homeless families working within the child welfare system.


  • Having grown into so much more than just a “center”, Hamilton officially changes it’s name to Hamilton Families. A steadfast commitment to ending family homelessness remains the driving force of the organization.