2014 Homeless Workforce Conference

Let’s Get Serious:
Skills, Jobs, Careers as Paths Out of Homelessness and Poverty

June 16-17, 2014
Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA


City of Richmond National Health Care for the Homeless Council Kaiser Permanente
The California Endowment Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco La Bonne Cuisine
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Saffron Strand’s 2014 Conference provided specialized continuing education for employment services professionals and others assisting the homeless, hard-to-employ, and long-term unemployed to re-enter and remain in the workforce.

Conference Program available here!

Plenary sessions, workshops, and other activities provided education, training, and networking to empower Conference participants to help clients and consumers gain skills, build careers, and embark on paths out of homelessness and poverty. Our unique 2-day curriculum presented:

  • Monday and Tuesday plenaries with leading national and Bay Area authorities detailing critical issues affecting the homeless and hard-to-employ workforce
  • Expert workshops with professional training on specialized tools, effective models, and useful examples
  • Luncheon Roundtable Discussions on workforce issues
  • Advocacy Luncheon with the 2014 Jesse Curtis Awards for Reducing Homelessness
  • Evening of Diversity Reception with informal professional networking opportunities

Monday Morning, June 16: Workforce Policy and Programming

Ira Wolfe_Portfolio_864x1152Keynote: “Caught in the Perfect Labor Storm: The Homeless, Hard-to-Employ, and Long-Term Unemployed” – Ira Wolfe, PhD (Success Performance Solutions, Lancaster, PA). The nationally acclaimed consultant, author of The Perfect Labor Storm, and blogger on labor issues for The Huffington Post has reported that few labor experts had forecasted how difficult it would be to get the long-term unemployed back to work following the Great Recession. Many of these hard-to-employ workers have dropped out of the labor market, exhausted their resources, and found themselves at high risk of homelessness.

Amy Wallace_web“Critical for California: Getting the Long-Term Unemployed Back into the Job Market” — Amy Wallace (California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, Sacramento, CA). Like other states, post-recession California’s unemployed workers include a growing proportion of the “long-term unemployed.” Although California’s unemployment rate is coming down, unfortunately the labor force participation rate is dropping, too. What is the state-level response in policy and programming?

CoBenjaminmmunity Colleges: Meeting Current and Future Workforce Needs” — Dr. Helen Benjamin (Contra Costa Community College District, Martinez, CA). College education is key in training for skills the new labor market demands. What are the opportunities and strategies for very low-income people who lack financial and other resources (such as child care, transportation, etc.) to enroll in community colleges, such as the Contra Costa Colleges, including Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, San Ramon Campus, and Brentwood Center?

“PolZralekicies and Programs: Integrating Employment-Related Interventions into HCH Services” — Brian Zralek (National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Nashville, TN). There is a desperate need for federal, state, and local agencies that administer low-income health care programs to recognize and support the positive relationship between employment and health. Providers of health care for the homeless (HCH) services can do much to help prepare their clients for future employment.

Plenary panel discussion: Conference participant Q&A with plenary speakers on policy and programming for employment-focused solutions for the long-term unemployed, hard-to-employ, and homeless.

Tuesday Morning, June 17: At-Risk Youth in the Workforce

Lucero_2Keynote: “At-Risk Youth and the Legal System: Confronting a Huge Barrier to Employment” — Judge Katherine Lucero (Superior Court of Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA). Based on her experience supervising Juvenile Dependency Courts, Juvenile Delinquency Courts, Family Courts, and more, Judge Lucero knows the challenges youth involved in the justice system face in achieving education, gaining job skills, entering the workforce, and sustaining employment. She offered advice to those working in employment services and human services for at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations.

“CollegBenjamine for Future Employment: The Youth Track” — Dr. Helen Benjamin (Contra Costa Community College District, Martinez, CA). Getting at-risk youth on “the youth track” for college empowers their potential for careers and gainful employment. What are their most critical challenges, brightest opportunities, and cost-effective strategies for college education?


Schweitzer 3“Getting to Work: At-Risk Youths Tell Us How to Help” — Don Schweitzer, PhD (Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR). Dr. Schweitzer’s pioneering research on homeless, runaway, and foster care youth points up the disturbing fact that many avoid involvement in the programs and services designed to meet their needs and keep them safe. But because they lack job skills and employment, such youth were vulnerable to exploitation, including illicit drug trafficking and sex work. Recent research suggests new approaches to improving workforce development for at-risk youth.

Anne Wunderli_web“Employment: Our Goal for Homeless Youth” — Anne Wunderli (Pine Street Inn, Boston, MA). Ms. Wunderli runs an innovative and effective program for homeless youth that provides a continuum of services culminating in employment. She offered lessons learned on the streets, in the shelters, and among Boston employers.


Plenary panel discussion: Conference participant Q&A with plenary speakers on getting homeless, runaway, foster-care, and other at-risk youth into the workforce with lifetime learning and career potential.

Monday Afternoon, June 16: Workshops

“Quality of Motivation: Research and Practice to Help the Homeless Climb Out of the Hole” – Ira Wolfe, PhD (Success Performance Solutions, Lancaster, PA). Education, skills training, job preparedness, and even on-the-job training often are not enough to help those who are hard-to-employ climb out and stay out of “the hole” often created by traumatic life events and counter-productive lifestyles. The process of personal formation gives the hard-to-employ a chance to understand their personal skills and turn those skills into life options and opportunities. During this workshop, participants learned key elements of 40-plus years of Quality of Motivation research and practice; how the research applies to the homeless, hard-to-employ, and chronically unemployed; and, how the practice provides a prescription for turning around a person’s life regardless of the person’s position in life.

“Motivational Interviewing as a Tool for Workforce Specialists: Key Concepts and Spirit” (Part 1) – Matt Bennett, MBA, MA (Coldsprings Center, Denver, CO). This 2-part workshop provided workforce specialists Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques that are effective in empowering the homeless, hard-to-employ, and long-term unemployed to get back to work and sustain their employment for the long term. MI is designed to help clients make critical choices that can help them increase their well-being, housing situation, and make the necessary changes to gain and maintain employment. Part 1 of this workshop provided an introduction to key concepts, terminology, and spirit of MI.

“Motivational Interviewing as a Tool for Workforce Specialists: Skills You Can Use” (Part 2) – Matt Bennett, MBA, MA (Coldsprings Center, Denver, CO). The second part of this workshop on Motivational Interviewing (MI) taught participants to apply concepts, terminology, and spirit of MI covered earlier. Also, it provided specialized skills that participants can use immediately in their work with the homeless, hard-to-employ, and long-term unemployed to help such clients re-enter the workforce and sustain employment.

“Work Matters: Employment as a Tool for Ending Homelessness and Improving Health” – Brian Zralek, MSSW (National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Nashville, TN), Chris Warland, AM and Caitlin Schnur, AM (National Transitional Jobs Network, Chicago, IL). Employment is a significant social determinant of physical and mental health. Linking individuals and families with stable, earned income from employment can help prevent and end homelessness and foster better health. Providers of health care for the homeless (HCH) can play an important role in connecting consumers to employment by integrating employment-related interventions into HCH services. This workshop:

  • Provided an overview of the relationship between employment and health;
  • Discussed the evidence supporting employment programming for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Examined evidence-based employment models for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Identified the core service components necessary for effective employment program design and implementation; and
  • Offered clear next steps for integrating employment programming with HCH and homeless services, ranging from low-cost activities that can be undertaken immediately to longer-term, comprehensive program design strategies.

This workshop highlighted case examples of HCH projects that actively support employment efforts as well as employment programs that successfully serve individuals experiencing homelessness.

“Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Incarceration” – Joshua Eunsuk Kim, JD (A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, Los Angeles, CA). By following the story of a “typical” individual trapped in poverty and incarceration, this workshop highlighted key points in her life where existing laws made it difficult for social services to effectively intervene. For each of these key points, the workshop presenter (who is an attorney) explained relevant state and federal laws and regulations, including California’s “clean slate” laws (particularly Penal Code section 1203.4), occupational licensing laws, public benefits laws and regulations, “background check” laws, federal anti-discrimination laws, and “Ban the Box” laws.

“Trauma-Informed Care: Managing the Intersection of Trauma and Employment with the Homeless and Hard-to-Employ” – Jamie Lavender, MFT (Harm Reduction Therapy Center, San Francisco, CA). Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is a useful model in nearly any framework in which people come for help, whether with employment, housing, mental health or drug treatment, education, etc. TIC involves recognizing signs of trauma (various presentations, different sets of symptoms, etc.) and then knowing what questions to ask and how to proceed. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex or Developmental Trauma, and other forms of trauma can compromise a person’s ability to function at a worksite in a number of areas, ranging from problems with focus and concentration and ability to complete tasks to relationships with co-workers, responses to conflict, and on-the-job safety. An employment specialist needs to know how to work with people who are traumatized so the specialist can provide services that help them succeed in working rather than set them up to fail.

“‘Strategic Sharing’: How Homeless Consumers and Providers Can Maintain Focus” – Amy Grassette (National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Nashville, TN). This workshop provided training to empower consumers (homeless, hard-to-employ, or long-term unemployed) to share their stories in a strategic, focused, effective manner including in situations involving advocacy. The workshop involved practice among participants, which also was helpful for health care, housing, and employment services providers to learn how to listen and respond to the homeless and other vulnerable consumers.

“Working in Partnership: How Raphael House of San Francisco Works with Families and Community Partners to Achieve Results” – Sophia Selassie (Raphael House of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA). The National Alliance to End Homelessness states, “Overcoming employment barriers requires collaborations between employers, providers, and individuals experiencing homelessness to ensure that the needs of all parties are being met. To help individuals overcome their traumatic experiences… and succeed in the workplace, providers should follow a trauma-informed approach.” This workshop explored factors that families experiencing homelessness encounter as barriers to employment, focusing on the Work Force Development Program at Raphael House. The program works within a multidisciplinary team to address the needs of the “whole” family and the individual. The workshop also detailed trauma-informed services to assist individuals to successfully identify and secure employment. The workshop detailed how the Raphael House program weaves trauma-informed care techniques into the workforce development program and partners with community-based organizations and public and private sectors to leverage program services.

“Best Practice: Work Experience Model for Individual and Societal Change” — Andrew Hening and Chris Richardson (Downtown Streets Team – San Rafael, San Rafael, CA). This workshop educated participants on the creation, implementation, and possible impact of a work experience program. The workshop used “Downtown Streets Team – San Rafael” as a case study to highlight some of the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned with respect to launching a new work experience program. The workshop also discussed the impact and versatility of more mature work experience programs by highlighting Downtown Streets Team – Palo Alto and Downtown Streets Team – San Jose, focusing on the identification and analysis of best practice using this work experience model.

“Ending Homelessness among Veterans: Strategies and Best Practices” — Felton Mackey and Ron Murray (Shelter Inc. of Contra Costa County, Richmond, CA). The Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program (SSVFP) of Shelter Inc. is one of more than 300 programs currently sponsored by the federal Veterans Administration to end homelessness among U.S. military veterans. SSVFP includes employment solutions for hard-to-employ veterans that are based on community partnerships. The workshop also highlighted housing and other resources available for veterans using the example of Contra Costa County.

Tuesday Afternoon, June 17: Workshops

“Punks, Delinquents and Dropouts: The Effects of Societal Views of Youth on Youth Practice” – Don Schweitzer, PhD (Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR), Marni Doerfler, LMSW (Independent Living Program, OR). Negative stereotypes of youth have infiltrated many areas of our society. Even the most passionate youth worker can unknowingly transfer those stereotypes to the youth with whom they work. This workshop revealed ways in which these negative views can permeate services. It helped participants develop strategies to recognize negative stereotypes of youth, avoid those views, and improve services.

“IMPACT Employment Services for Young Adults: A Working Model” — Aneesa Nichols (Pine Street Inn, Boston, MA). This workshop described the successful IMPACT model serving homeless youth in Boston to improve their acquisition and retention of employment. The model application through the non-profit organization Pine Street Inn includes job training programs (cafeteria operations, food preparation, building maintenance and woodworking, housekeeping) and transitional employment in community social enterprises (iCater, Boston HandyWorks). Ms. Nichols noted, “All of the 18-24 year-olds who come to us believe they want or need a job. However, many are ambivalent about actually obtaining one. Our goal is to help our clients resolve that ambivalence and support them in their employment aspirations.” The workshop detailed IMPACT’s parallel tracks of Acquisition of Employment and Development and Implementation of Career Plan. It also provided an overview of the use of Motivational Interviewing techniques targeted toward helping clients engage effectively with the job-search process.

“Trauma-Informed Excellence: THRIVE Self-Care for Helping Professionals” – Matt Bennett, MBA, MA (Coldsprings Center, Denver, CO). “As helping professionals,” Mr. Bennett pointed out, “we are at risk of experiencing issues that mirror those of the traumatized clients we serve. Research demonstrates the dangerous impact on physical and emotional health when exposure to trauma is combined with a stressful work environment. Knowledge is the best defense against burn-out, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue.” This workshop detailed THRIVE self-care training which goes further than other self-care trainings by addressing the critical elements of health to enhance productivity and quality of work. Utilizing research in neurobiology, psychology and business, this training provided skills for those in direct care to be more effective and efficient at work, allowing for the highest level of services possible.

“Steps to Success for Transition Age Youth” — Veronica Boutelle, MFT, Maddy Russell-Shapiro, EdM, Harry Williams, Pastor (First Place for Youth, San Francisco, CA). This workshop presented the First Place program model – an employment and education program that includes housing to support current and former foster youth to become self-sufficient adults. The workshop includes information about the program’s mission, core values, program design, and outcomes. It also covered the Steps to Success model as one way to promote education and employment progress for transition age youth. The presenters highlighted best practices, effective interventions, and challenges in working with this young, at-risk population.

“Youth Workforce Development: Moving Hands and Hearts” — Vanessa Scott, Chris Dycus, and Brianna Moseley (Love Never Fails, Dublin, CA) and Beverly Bailey (Love Never Fails and Bridging the Chasm, Dublin, CA). Workforce development is essential in the fight against and prevention of human trafficking as well as homelessness, substance abuse, gang violence, and a variety of other health and social issues. The organization Prostitution Research & Education reports 76% of persons who are being “sex trafficked” say they need legitimate job training. Providing a standard job readiness tool kit (resumes, cover letters, interviewing techniques, etc.) is helpful but usually not enough to stabilize those who have experienced trauma and abuse, especially those involved in modern slavery. During this workshop Love Never Fails shared its approach to place and sustain Bay Area young people, ages 14-29, in fulfilling jobs that are healing for them and provide benefits to the community in terms of public safety, public health, and increased commerce and prosperity.

“Establishing ‘Trust’: Foundation for Work with People in Transition” – Ivan Temes (Leadership and Loyalty, Oakland, CA). Establishing “care and trust” is a key factor in working with people in any environment, particularly with those who are going through challenging times. This workshop with the national job coaching consultant and author of Care: You Have the Power trained participants to assist people in communicating from their “heart” rather than from their “head,” which helps reduce the fear of change. It helped participants improve their listening skills, avoid judgment, and help those with whom they are working to feel cared for, which feeling then allows them to speak their “personal truths” and begin to gain control of their lives.

Monday, June 16: Luncheon Roundtable Discussions

Seven Roundtable Discussions took place during a buffet luncheon catered by La Bonne Cuisine. Discussions were coordinated by members of the Conference Planning Committee and focused on timely and critical workforce issues.

Criminal Background as a Barrier to Employment and Advocacy for “Ban the Box”: This Roundtable discussed how a person’s criminal background prevents employment, ways to overcome this barrier to employment, and to what extent “Ban the Box” legislation in California and other states is succeeding in increasing employment of people with a criminal background.

Finding Funding for Workforce Development for the Homeless, Hard-to-Employ, and Long-Term Unemployed: This Roundtable focused on the challenges of funding effective employment services for the most vulnerable. Funding is necessary for both specialized training of employment services personnel and the vulnerable job seekers themselves. New funding from public and charitable sources is critical. To get this funding requires educating stakeholders and advocating for a paradigm shift in employment services support. Stakeholders include members of the public, legislators, civic leaders, foundation grantors, and workforce professionals.

Leveraging Support for Homeless Workforce Development among Community Stakeholders: This Roundtable discussion explored the challenges of breaking down institutional silos that extend from the national and state levels all the way down to the local level. Community-level partnerships among local businesses, concerned citizens, and service providers can help break down the silos and improve the transition out of homelessness by connecting the homeless to all necessary services.

Continuum of Care and Transition: Partnering Supportive Housing, Health Care, and Employment Services: This Roundtable focused on open communication and collaboration of key providers and services so that our clients and consumers can succeed in their transition out of homelessness.

Personal Healing Required for Becoming Work-Ready and Overcoming Homelessness: This Roundtable involved clients and consumers in a discussion of personal healing and how it can help them prepare and succeed in the workplace. Providers participated as active listeners as they gained insights to their own practices.

Homeless Rights Issues: Land Use and Ordinances: This Roundtable focused on the challenges of the homeless living outdoors. The discussion updated developments in homeless rights at the international, national, and state levels.

Mayor Gayle’s Table: Improving Quality of Life in Poor Communities – What We’ve Learned in Richmond: This Roundtable focused on Richmond’s challenges of homelessness, poverty, crime, education, and minimum wage. What has Richmond been doing that’s working?

 Tuesday, June 17: Advocacy Luncheon & Jesse Curtis Awards

Advocacy Luncheon Keynote

paul-gaffney-wp1“No Walls, No Boundaries: Faith Provides the Shelter”

Rev. Paul Gaffney is the chaplain of The Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy, where he provides emotional and spiritual support for people living outside and in transition. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania as the son of a minister, Paul worked with inner-city youth through AmeriCorps in Cleveland, OH, and earned his Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Now Paul is an ordained minister of the Disciples of Christ and a lay-ordained student of Taigen Leighton in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. Paul and his wife Annie currently live and work in San Rafael, CA. Paul’s keynote focused on shifting society’s attitudes about homelessness and how a ministry can grow outside a brick-and-mortar church, helping those who are the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Jesse Curtis Awards

Jesse Curtis lived into her 90s and died in Richmond, homeless and alone. Despite her own homelessness, she helped many others who were homeless in Richmond. Jesse’s extraordinary kindness in action built a bridge to a better life for many who worked their way out of homelessness. Her memory lives on in many hearts she touched.

In collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of the City of Richmond, Saffron Strand offers the annual Jesse Curtis Awards for Reducing Homelessness in remembrance of this humble but remarkable member of the Richmond community.

The Jesse Curtis Awards winners for 2014:

Homeless Citizen Achievement Award, honoring a homeless or at-risk Bay Area citizen who has made extraordinary progress, against all odds, in improving his or her job skills, employability, and economic independence — Calvin Shepherd, Saffron Strand Member

Homelessness Program Achievement Award, honoring a government, non-profit, or faith-based program’s extraordinary performance over the past year in helping to reduce homelessness in the Bay Area — Anka Behavioral Health (accepting the award on behalf of Anka Behavioral Health is Shayne Kaleo, Anka’s Regional Director of Contra Costa County Housing and Homeless Services)

“Voice of the Homeless” Media Award, honoring the leadership of a Bay Area corporate or individual print, broadcast, or web-based media source in reporting on homelessness issues most accurately and fairly over the past year — Robert Rogers, Contra Costa Times

Homelessness Advocacy in Action Award, honoring a member of the Bay Area community who has been highly effective in advocating and achieving positive results with responsible, actionable, and sustainable solutions for homelessness — Paul Boden, Executive Director, WRAP (Western Regional Advocacy Project)

Outstanding Volunteer Award, honoring a member of the Bay Area community whose selfless, voluntary work has benefited the homeless and provided a great example to us all — Talia Yaffa Rubin, Saffron Strand Volunteer Project Assistant

Saffron Strand Chair’s Award, presented by the Chair of the Saffron Strand Board of Directors, honoring a dedicated and compassionate member of the community who has worked tirelessly and quietly behind the scenes to reduce homelessness — Barry Dugar, The Remember US People Project (TRUPP)

Monday, June 16: Evening of Diversity

Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804

Our Evening of Diversity shared the rich and wondrous cultural diversity of Richmond, represented in Saffron Strand’s intentional community of homeless members. The reception and entertainment program included food, dance, and music of Central America, Polynesia, Asia, and Africa.

During the reception, Conference participants were welcome to enjoy diverse and delicious hors d’oeuvres and beverages from many countries, representing the culinary talents of Saffron Strand members and volunteers. Evening of Diversity delights included ceviche, egg rolls, samosa pulau, lupia, Thai noodles, super taco bar, special chicken wings, and horchata.

Diversity is at the heart of Saffron Strand’s work, with the goal of this evening to awaken the senses of participants and integrate diversity not simply as a concept of the mind, but an integrated, lived experience.

See our program below or download Evening of Diversity flyer.

Evening of Diversity

4:45 – 5:30 p.m. — Musical Interlude with Atlas

Entrance Fee $20

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. — The Saffron Strand All-Stars

5:45 – 7:00 p.m. — Diverse and Delicious Hors D’oeuvres and Beverages

Master of Ceremonies: Jael Myrick

6:00 – 6:05 p.m. — Welcome by Shamar Shanker, Saffron Strand Board Member

6:10 – 6:25 p.m. — Ministerio de Danza Azteca Cuahutli

6:25 – 6:30 p.m. — Polynesian Dance by Sherrie’s Dance Studio

6:30 – 6:45 p.m. — Dholrhythms Bhangra / Audience Participation

6:45 – 6:50 p.m. — Shan Bin Folk Dance

6:50 – 7:00 p.m. — “Po Boys Kitchen” by RAW Talent

7:00 – 7:05 p.m. — Flamenco by Sherrie’s Dance Studio

7:05 – 7:10 p.m. — Shan Bin Folk Dance

7:10 – 7:15 p.m. — Hip-Hop by RAW Talent

7:15 – 7:35 p.m. — Ministerio de Danza Azteca Cuahutli

7:35 p.m. — The Saffron Strand All-Stars

 The Saffron Strand All-Stars

These fine musicians came together to play music in celebration of a very worthy cause. They are all members of the local community as well as the greater community that includes all of us. As a group they share a common harmony of goals — a desire to make a difference, to make a contribution to humankind — goals we can all share.

Guitar: Bobby Young

Strongly influenced by Jimmy Hendrix, but with a style all his own, Bobby has played with many greats including The Natural Four and Richard “Dimples” Fields.

Keyboards: Gig Anderson

Originally from Texas, Gig is one of the most in-demand musicians in the Bay Area. Among his many credits is a long tenure with John Lee Hooker Jr. and Sugar Pie DeSanto.

Drums: Victor Peubla

Solid funk and a smooth groove define this veteran drummer’s style.

 Sax: Andres Soto

As a community activist, gourmet, raconteur, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. Mr. Soto’s many talents are much appreciated by all.

 Trumpet: J.B. Middleton

J.B. feels he’s been blessed to have played with so many of the greats including these fine young musicians here tonight.

 “Non-Stop Bhangra” Folk Dancing from India

Based in San Francisco, Dholrhythms Dance Company promotes the artistic and cultural heritage of India through the Bhangra and Giddha folk dances of Punjab in northern India. Dholrhythms hosts classes and workshops and presents performances and events that celebrate these beautiful, exuberant folk dances.

 Sherrie’s Dancers

Sherrie’s Dance Studio in El Sobrante takes pride in offering quality dance education through both recreational classes and competitive classes. Sherrie’s builds self-esteem and confidence in dancers while teaching them the art of dance. For the Evening of Diversity, Sherrie’s dancers performed Polynesian and Tap dances.

RAW Talent with “Po’ Boys Kitchen”

Members of the youth arts group RAW Talent performed scenes from the play “Po’ Boys Kitchen,” which portrays the struggles and humanity of homelessness. Based in Richmond, RAW Talent provides a safe space for creative expression and self-exploration that increases young people’s self-esteem, their identities as artists, their connection to their histories, and their belief in the power of their own voices to trans-form themselves and their communities.

Shan Bin Chinese Folk Dancing

The Shan Bin Dance Group performed folk dances from two regions of China. Shan Bin has been dancing at East Bay venues for the past eight years and has been part of the Richmond Senior Center where the dancers practice every Monday.

Please Thank Our Evening of Diversity Sponsors!

  • Cosco – El Cerrito
  • Safeway – El Cerrito
  • Target – Richmond
  • Uncle Chungs — Pinole
  • Delhi Dhaba & Chaat — San Pablo
  • Fiji Foods and Fashions — El Sobrante
  • Bhooja King — Hayward
  • Trader Joe’s – Rockridge
  • Becky’s Kitchen — Berkeley



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 2014 Conference trained 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 Conference educates 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 return to SaffronStrand.org for news of our 2015 Conference.

 Meanwhile, 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