In 2018, the California Department of Community Services and Development designated Urban Services YMCA as San Francisco’s Community Action Agency. Through this designation, Urban Services YMCA joins a nationwide Community Action Partnership network focused on the reduction of poverty and the revitalization of low-income communities. Dating back to 1964 with the passing of the Economic Opportunity Act, Community Action comes out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, and from the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, to embody our nation’s spirit of hope, change, and making America a place where all people belong and thrive.
Mission and Vision
Our Community Action Agency’s mission is to reduce San Francisco poverty levels and mitigate the negative impacts of poverty for all city residents in partnership with neighborhood stakeholders, private industry, elected leaders, faith-based institutions, local education agencies, and departments of government. Our vision is to give life to a nation where all persons have the opportunities to thrive, build strong and resilient communities, and co-create a more equitable society.
What We Do
Community Action Agencies are designated and funded to reduce poverty in the communities they serve. Every service, program, and activity must answer the question: “How does this move the needle on helping families out of poverty?” A complete document of what we do and why we do it is detailed in our 2020-2021 Community Action Plan and Needs Assessment.
To these ends, Urban Services YMCA is currently administering San Francisco’s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and delivering the following:
- Service Connection programming citywide
- Barrier removal services so that low-income residents can secure employment;
- Housing preservation activities to prevent people from being evicted and becoming homeless; and
- Legal advocacy to support residents who are undocumented or seeking asylum, in need of documentation for employment, and/or working through the justice system.
- Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Family Support Services via the Chinatown YMCA’s Immigrant Support Center
- Family supports for single room occupancy (SRO) residents in the form of translation services, job development supports, ESL classes, nutrition, mentoring, and peer leadership and education opportunities; and
- Basic needs assistance in the form of access to healthy groceries, clothing, transportation, respite child watch, and more.
- Advocating for policy changes via the federal public comment process on issues like Public Charge, Redefining Poverty Levels, and HUD eligibility for Mixed Status Families.
Above mentioned activities are provided citywide and leveraged against Urban Services YMCA’s entire Services Delivery System, made possible through existing grants and contracts, and includes
- Afterschool Enrichment
- Community Health Advocates and Peer Education Leaders
- Empowerment to Employment
- Family Resource Centers
- Mental Health and Case Management
- Reach and Rise® Mentoring Program
- School-Based Beacon Centers (James Denman and Dr. Charles Drew)
- Service Connection
- Truancy Assessment and Resource Center
- Youth Empowerment Fund
A Focus on Results
Reducing poverty will require identifying causes of poverty in San Francisco; a convergence of city agencies, local leaders, and residents to advocate for effective policy changes; and building a network of community action activities aimed at ameliorating poverty across a collaborative and accountable foundation of partners.
As Urban Services YMCA employs a Results-Oriented Management and Accountability framework (ROMA), our effectiveness is measured not only by the services directly provided but by the improvements and changes achieved in the local community’s attitudes and practices towards anti-poverty purposes. Simply put, our results center around changing lives and supporting the community move out of poverty. Below is a video of what this can look like made possible via our Service Connection program.
How To Get Involved
Still with me? Great! Join our movement to eliminate poverty in San Francisco so we can co-create a more equitable society.
We have identified a need to outreach about Community Action to San Francisco City and County. As such, we welcome suggestions on who we should connect with in order to advance our anti-poverty movement. Sectors to identify: 1.) Public Sector; 2.) Private Sector; 3.) Faith-Based; 4.) Educational Institutions; and 5.) Community-Based Organizations.
Got other ideas? Share with Manuel all suggestions, ideas, challenges, questions, etc. as it relates to Community Action and how we can work together to alleviate poverty in San Francisco.