Champion Spotlight – Samaritan House

HIF Champion Spotlight

Samaritan House, one of San Mateo’s leading nonprofits, is the largest food distribution agency in the county and recognized as a role model in the community. Their free service offerings include shelter and housing assistance; medical and dental clinics; clothes for children; personalized case management and much more. Each year, they provide services and resources to more than 14,000 low-income and homeless San Mateo County residents in need, including families with children, seniors and individuals living with a disability, veterans and homeless adults.

For decades, Samaritan House has served as a major “safety net” organization, supplying the basic necessities of life for our least fortunate neighbors. They have become an “economic opportunity engine” to help people stabilize their economic situations and with additional support and resources to become self-sufficient. They have over 4,000 volunteers helping all of our neighbors in need.

During the pandemic, Samaritan House witnessed the most staggering increase in need in their organization’s nearly 50-year history. With donations and volunteer time, they were able to help over 25,000 people with food, shelter, healthcare and other basic necessities of living.

In the most challenging times, we know firsthand that they live their mission to preserve dignity, promote self-sufficiency, and provide hope with compassion to everyone in our community.

Our long-standing partnership runs deep
Samaritan House has been an HIF partner agency since we were founded in 1989 and our collaboration runs deep—from Board members and renovations projects at Safe Harbor Shelter to emergency housing grants and shared strategic plans and community insights.

We are honored to have La Trice Taylor, Associate Director of Programs and Services at Samaritan House, serve on our Board. She brings a wealth of knowledge and passion, and a perspective that’s invaluable to our organization. In addition, HIF’s longest serving Board member, Ron Granville, CEO at Woodmont Real Estate Services, sits on the Samaritan House Board.

These connections create a valuable and steady exchange of information, ideas, and innovation—sharing what’s working, what new needs are emerging in the community, and how we can improve our services.

Emergency housing grant collaboration
HIF’s Emergency Housing Fund team and Samaritan House’s Housing and Shelter team work hand-in-hand to prevent individuals and families in San Mateo County from experiencing homelessness. Our emergency grants of up to $2,500 helps families avoid a major crisis and homelessness with rent and utility bill assistance.

Rental assistance continues to be one of the most important and common needs of Samaritan House clients as it allows families to avoid eviction and remain in their homes. This is one of the least costly and most effective services they provide to meet the housing needs of their clients.

“Our partnership has meant a lot to so many families. When our clients receive funding from HIF, these funds are essential for clients struggling to make ends meet and keep them housed when they can’t make rent,” said Bart Charlow, CEO at Samaritan House. “Having that support in their moment of need means clients can catch their breath and focus on finding their footing in a challenging time.”

“Since 2019, we’ve worked with Bart’s dedicated team to distribute 21 emergency grants to their clients—providing them a lifeline and hope,” said Steve Sullivan, Executive Director at Housing Industry Foundation. “Bart is on the front line leading his organization in their work fighting poverty and lifting lives, and our team is inspired by his example and leadership. It’s a pleasure to be partners and directing more than $500,000 in grants to their clients since 1989.”

An HIF Board service day
As part of our Board’s Community Impact and Learning program, they spent a day in March 2022 serving at Samaritan House. They supported the drive-thru pantry with205 cars coming to pick up much needed groceries. Each car represents 205 households which translates into 554 individuals for the week. During this one week, Monday-Friday, there were 848 cars/households that came through for their weekly groceries, which translates into 2,290 individuals.

Our volunteers also helped in the kitchen to prepare meals that were served to 1,164 individuals that day. This includes Mobile Meals, meals to several area shelter programs including Samaritan House’s Safe Harbor, and hot meals served from their truck at the Masonic Hall in downtown San Mateo. For that week, the total meals served was 5,736, including churches and school programs.

In addition to giving back to our community, a highlight expressed by many HIF Board members was Bart’s tour and walking through all of the facets of how they mobilize so many volunteers to serve so many people, every day.

Read more about Samaritan House

HIF is fortunate to have so many great supporters that are truly the Champions of our mission. Without our board members, volunteers, donors, and community agency partners, we could not serve families and individuals in need with our Homeless Prevention Programs. Check out other HIF Champion Spotlights.

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