Raphael House (San Francisco)

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Raphael House of San Francisco is a shelter for homeless families in San Francisco and the greater Bay area. It is a non-profit organization operated by a small core of live-in staff who are Orthodox Christians that provides help for at-risk children and their families. Originally a charitable activity of Christ the Savior Brotherhood, Raphael House was incorporated in 1991 as its own California nonprofit organization and has a federal designation as a 501(c)3 organization.


Raphael House was established in 1971 as the first full-service family shelter for homeless families in San Francisco, providing transitional housing for these families. The mission of Raphael House is to aid at-risk families achieve stable housing and financial independence, while strengthening family bonds.

Initially located at Gough and McAllister Streets, the facility moved to a Sutter Street location in 1977. Raphael House does not accept any government funding and relies upon San Francisco bay area philanthropy. The organization neither seeks nor accepts federal, state, or municipal funding. The organization relies solely on privates sources for its annual budget, from individuals, businesses, foundations, church groups, civic organizations, and corporations.

The board of directors is drawn from the local community, as well as its resident and non-resident staff. Since 1977 more than 12,000 individuals have invested financial and volunteer support assisting Raphael House. Raphael House does not place any religious obligations on those who are helped.

During the years since moving to the Sutter Street location, Raphael House has sheltered more than 10,000 children and their parents. Of the families served, 85 percent have been headed by single mothers, of which 65 percent have been children.

Programs and services

Within Raphael House the focus for aiding families is preservation and encouraging both a sense of dignity and responsibility. This means fulfilling the basic needs of the family; that is, building a home-like atmosphere of love, care, and security, while satisfying the basic needs for shelter, food, and clothing, thus, enabling the families to rebuild their lives in a supportive community. Raphael House does this through four components of support.

Family shelter: A shelter program offers housing for children and their families in crisis.
Parent services: Casework, counseling, and education that aid parents to focus on goals for their family and acquire the skills needed to achieve those goals.
Children’s services: An advocacy program to ensure children receive tutoring and education and perform to their abilities in school and in activities that foster creativity and imagination.
Aftercare services: A program that provides follow-up and support to former resident families.

During the year from August 2006 to July 2007, 82 percent of the families from Raphael House moved from the shelter of the House to stable housing while 95 percent of those families in aftercare have maintained stable housing.

The Chapel of the Holy Archangels is an important part of Raphael House. Orthodox services are conducted in the chapel under the auspices of the Orthodox Church in America. The chapel is attached to Holy Trinity Cathedral of San Francisco.

Raphael House continues to look for volunteers, both individuals and corporate, to participate in the work of Raphael House.

External links