There are two questions that Jeff Kositsky, San Francisco’s Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, gets asked often - 'How can I help?' and 'Should I give money to people?'. The answers to these questions are complicated but there are innovative solutions. One such solution comes in the small but powerful form of a gift card.
Jeff Kositsky introducing Mayor Ed Lee at the HandUp Gift Card press conference
HandUp Gift Cards are physical cards with a $25 value that can be purchased and then given to a homeless neighbor to redeem for goods and services like food, clothing, and paying bills. The cards not only offer financial stimulus but give people suffering from homelessness the chance to connect with nonprofits ready to provide support and care.
See how HandUp Gift Cards work in this video
Gift cards can be bought online at handup.org/giftcards and now can also be purchased at retail locations like Equator Coffees and The Hall on Market Street. The centers that redeem cards have also expanded to include the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, MSC South Shelter in SOMA and the United Council of Neighborhood Services in the Bayview.
HandUp Gift Cards featured at Equator Coffees & Teas
Mayor Ed Lee announced the expansion in special press conference alongside Rose Broome and Sammie Rayner, the CEO and COO of HandUp. Other speakers included Kara Zordel, Executive Director of Project Homeless Connect and Justin Steele from Google.org.
"With HandUp Gift Cards, companies and nonprofits are really coming together to connect those in need to services and support." - Mayor Ed Lee
“Homelessness is such a visible problem and people are looking for ways to give back,” Rose Broome told TechCrunch. “We’re excited to have the city’s support in promoting HandUp Gift Cards as a way the community can respond to homelessness.”
This is one step in HandUp’s continued work to reach more neighbors in need across San Francisco and beyond. If you are a business owner, and you would like to offer HandUp Gift Cards at your retail location, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.