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 and training center 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 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.

From 2009 to 2018, provided direct services to thousands of homeless and very low-income people in Richmond and other San Francisco Bay Area communities, all of whom were chronically unemployed. By the close of 2017, more than 350 members had been employed for two years or more and enjoyed a stable housing situation.

In Richmond, CA, Saffron Strand membership consisted of 66% African Americans, 18% Caucasians, 8% Hispanics, 6% Asians, 2% Native Americans. In age, 42% were 18-35 years, 36% were 36-55 years, and 22% were 56 or more years. Membership included 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 Homeless Workforce Conferences each year during 2010-2017. These national conferences, held in Richmond, CA, provided critical training in workforce development for the chronically unemployed that was available in no other forum. We awarded a Certificate of Completion as part of our continuing professional education program. Links to a few of our Conference programs…

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 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 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.

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

  • 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