Outcomes, Education & Training, Awards

Saffron Stand, Inc. is a unique 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization whose mission is to get homeless people and those at risk of homelessness off the streets and back to work.

In professional office space, during normal business hours, we provide a sanctuary for the homeless, hard-to-employ, and the long-term unemployed to rebuild their lives. Our members become part of an intentional community that provides family-like support in their quest to re-enter they workforce. They work in Saffron Strand on a voluntary basis, learning skills, and doing work they like to do. As they build job skills and overcome personal barriers to employment, their one-on-one work with our all-volunteer staff prepares them for a career in the dynamic workforce in the world at large.

Also, Saffron Strand provides unique leadership in public education and professional training for professionals and others working in the fields of employment, health care, and housing services for vulnerable populations. Our focus is on best practices and innovative approaches to get very low-income, vulnerable adults and youth into the workforce for the long-term. This specialized employment services training is available only through Saffron Strand’s Annual Homeless Workforce Conferences.

At Saffron Strand, we work one-on-one with homeless adults and youth to build their job skills and work-related social skills so they can get and keep good-paying jobs that they like to do. These are jobs that can lead to careers.

Those who join Saffron Strand become members of our intentional community, which is dedicated to getting all members back to work. Membership in Saffron Strand is free and involves voluntary on-the-job training during normal business hours to help run the organization, including its annual national Homeless Workforce Conference.

Since 2009, Saffron Strand has provided direct services to more than 250 homeless and very low-income people in Richmond and other San Francisco Bay Area communities, all of whom were chronically unemployed. In June 2014, Saffron Strand had:

  • 210 total members
  • 117 members currently employed
  • 41 members employed 2 years or more
  • 37 members employed 4 years or more

Saffron Strand membership consists of 66% African Americans, 18% Caucasians, 8% Hispanics, 6% Asians, 2% Native Americans. In age, 42% are 18-35 years, 36% are 36-55 years, and 22% are 56 or more years. Membership includes single parents with dependent children, formerly incarcerated persons, and people with alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health problems.

Despite their diverse personal challenges and serious obstacles to employment, Saffron Strand members seek economic independence earned through productive work. They want the respect, dignity, and trust that work can provide.

When a community’s homeless and others who are hard-to-employ re-enter the workforce for the long term, the community benefits from more highly skilled workers, less poverty, less unreimbursed public expenditures, and greater local business investment and development.

Saffron Strand has provided unique public education and professional training through our Annual Homeless Workforce Conferences since 2010. These national conferences, held in Richmond, CA, provide critical training in workforce development for the chronically unemployed that is available in no other forum. We award a Certificate of Completion as part of our continuing professional education program.

The homeless and hard-to-employ need access to health care and housing. But health care and housing alone are not sufficient for them to escape extreme poverty and long-term dependence. Research and real-world experience prove that it takes more. The homeless and hard-to-employ also must have marketable work skills and a personal support system in order to re-enter the workforce and begin their climb toward economic independence.

Saffron Strand’s annual Homeless Workforce Conferences train participants to “retool” the homeless and those at risk of homelessness so they can re-enter the workforce for the long term. Our unique annual Conferences educate professionals, community leaders, and other stakeholders on the latest research, best practices, and examples of outstanding programs across the nation which use employment-focused approaches to reduce homelessness and poverty.

Please thank our major 2014 Conference sponsors!

City of Richmond, California

The California EndowmentKaiser PermanenteNational Health Care for the Homeless Council

California Workforce AssociationContra Costa Community College DistrictLa Bonne Cuisine

Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County • Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Saffron Strand or its all-volunteer staff members have received the following awards:

  • 2014 Hometown Heroes Award from Bay Area News Group-East Bay and Comcast
  • 2014 Workforce Professional of the Year Award from California Workforce Association
  • 2013 Safeco Community Hero Award
  • 2013 Human Rights and Human Relations Justice Award from the City of Richmond
  • 2012 Jefferson Award for Public Service in the San Francisco Bay Area