Laurie Bernstein is the new executive director at Solutions SF, a nonprofit organization that locates employment opportunities for The City’s homeless population. Along with finding jobs for homeless individuals, Solutions SF provides employment training programs and advocates for equitable housing initiatives.
What brought you to Solutions SF? I spent most of my early years in the for-profit business sector, but I kind of had what I call an early midlife crisis. I decided to use my business skills to give something back in a meaningful way, so I made the transition over to the nonprofit world.
How have the continual struggles of the economy affected homeless advocacy groups? Unfortunately, there are more people in need and fewer resources for them to call upon. But that doesn’t mean our services have gone away, they’ve just shifted. We really want to approach job creation in a very unique way for homeless residents.
What are Solution SF’s main components? Our philosophy entails three core values — a home, a job and a community. We do that by supporting affordable housing initiatives, operating a business line that trains participants for potential employment opportunities and providing a stable environment for residents in at-need communities.