HandUp Community Partner: Compass Family Services in San Francisco

Our partner Compass Family Services just celebrated it’s 100 year anniversary - that’s 100 years committed to serving San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities. This organization focuses on homeless and at-risk families, helping them to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. Compass’ services range from emergency shelter to child care education, creating a strong safety net for immediate and long-term support. We’re excited to have this impactful organization as part of our community partner network.

We spoke with Aram Hauslaib, Compass Family Services Communications and Corporate Relations Manager, to better understand their mission and their recent experience with HandUp. Learn why Compass opened it’s doors before the 1915 World Faire and how they are making a difference in San Francisco today.

In the past few months you’ve already seen members reach their fundraising goals! What has the response been with your clients?

We now have members going back to school, starting school, and finishing school because of HandUp supporters. Other families now have toys and car seats so that their children can both enjoy themselves while in a new home or outdoors because they can safely drive to the park. A new member is seeking help to throw her child a birthday party, which she hasn’t been able to afford on her own. And others are trying to put clothes and diapers on the backs of their infants and toddler. But one of the best gifts a family got from HandUp donors is the renewed drive to fight for a better life for her family. This is a gift that is invaluable.

One of the biggest reactions from members has been SURPRISE. Surprise that people really care. Surprise that people will give their own money to a stranger. Surprise at the speed in which goals have been met. Members have shared how much motivation they gained after getting support from the community.

How do you see HandUp helping as a piece of your larger mission?

HandUp is supporting Compass Family Services’ mission in several ways. Compass Family Services helps homeless families and families at imminent risk for homelessness to achieve housing stability, family well-being, and self-sufficiency. On its face, HandUp is providing a platform that allows donors in the community to support the same goals as our mission. HandUp helps families achieve housing stability by connecting donors with members who need rent assistance during tough times and furniture to make a new house a home. HandUp supports family well-being by helping members gain access to beds, clothing, diapers, toys, and more. And HandUp facilitates self-sufficiency as well. Many of our members have and are seeking out help with education related expenses like tuition, books, and computers. Education is a critical piece to families pulling themselves out of poverty and gaining confidence and courage to achieve more for their family. HandUp is able to play a role in each of the areas Compass is committed to supporting.

HandUp creates community. How can a family survive without community to offer support and love when times are tough? Compass strongly believes in highlighting an individual’s strengths in order to help support the growth and change a family seeks.

Image from Compass Family Services

Image from Compass Family Services

But beyond just the platform, HandUp has given great thought to creating personal connections between “strangers in a position to give” and “strangers in a time of need.” As odd as it may first sound, because HandUp exists online, HandUp creates community. How can a family survive without community to offer support and love when times are tough? Compass strongly believes in highlighting an individual’s strengths in order to help support the growth and change a family seeks. The “words of support” section on HandUp offers members inspiration that many haven’t received or felt in a long, long time. Those donors who were just strangers moments ago are now are praising members for setting ambitious goals, praying for them so they have success, encouraging them to aim high, and assuring them that they will accomplish their dreams. This is the support that Compass offers its families and now many more in the community can do the same.

Compass Family Services has a really inspiring history and mission, what do you want people to know most about you?

Compass Family Services just turned 100 years. For us, this is an incredible milestone. We remain as committed as ever to serving San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations as we have done throughout the past century. We started in 1914 as Traveler’s Aid San Francisco providing critical assistance to newcomers to the city in anticipation of the 1915 World’s Fair. We were the only organization to serve and protect morally all travelers without regard to age, creed or race. We went on to support youth in the midst of the Great Depression; refugees fleeing Europe and soldiers returning home during the World Wars; children in need of subsidized childcare in the 70s, and now homeless families since the 90s. We have served those in need following the trajectory of US history over the past 100 years. We plan to serve for 100 more!

Visit the Compass Family Services Partner Page to meet their members. If you’re interested in joining our partner network, send us a note at info@handup.us.