The Coalition on Homelessness will soon relocate from its current Turk Street location. (Lola Chase/ Special to SF Examiner)

Homeless Coalition moving to new, smaller home

Nonprofit moving into smaller space after landlord announces plans to redevelop property

After 16 years at 468 Turk St., San Francisco’s Coalition on Homelessness is facing displacement following the sale of its building last year.

The building’s new owners have announced that they plan to tear it down in three years to build market-rate housing in its place, according to the coalition.

The split is generally described as “amicable” and the organization will not go homeless — they have signed a new lease for office space available with the Tenderloin’s Hospitality House a few blocks over, at 290 Turk St.

However, the unanticipated move is expected to cost the homeless advocacy organization around $60,000, or some 10 percent of its operating budget. The coalition has until October to vacate its current location.

On Tuesday, the coalition launched a fundraising campaign seeking the public’s assistance in covering at least a portion of that cost, and is vying raise $20,000 toward a new phone system, transitional rent and moving services.

“The new owners gave us quite a bit of time notice but it is though in this market to get a new facility,” said COH Human Rights organizer Kelley Cutler, who described the impending move as a “homecoming of sorts” — the coalition was created some 30 years ago by former Hospitality House clients Paul Boden and Joe Wilson. Hospitality House, a social services organization, opened The City’s first overnight homeless shelter in 1982.

Jennifer Friedenbach, COH’s executive director, said that while Hospitality House is matching the rent that the organization is paying at its current home, the new space is significantly smaller and will require some downsizing. The organization currently employs nine full-time equivalent workers and some 20 volunteers — a majority of whom are homeless.

Friedenbach called the move an” opportunity” — the coalition has long struggled with lack of wheelchair accessibility in its current home — but said that the move is a strain on the organization’s resources, as COH will be paying rent at both locations temporarily.

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Kelly Cutler speaks with staff at their desk at the offices of Coalition on Homelessness. (Lola Chase/ Special to SF Examiner)

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