Downtown Streets Team (DST) is building Teams that restore dignity, inspire hope, and provide a path to recover from homelessness through volunteering to beautify their communities. Through creating an inclusive and supportive work experience community, Team Members (program participants) overcome barriers to success and exit homelessness. Our model is a no barrier model that encourages individuals 18 years and older to volunteer their time on beautification projects in the community while working on job-readiness and self-sufficiency. In exchange for their volunteerism, we are able to offer our Team Members case management and employment services, as well as basic needs stipends for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and communication. By beautifying city streets, neighborhoods, and waterways, not only are our Team Members building positive work habits and keeping debris out of communities, they are building personal agency, lifting self-esteem and overcoming the barriers to housing and employment.
We know that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to ending someone’s experience with homelessness. We first meet people where they are, get to know them, get to know where their barriers inhibit them, and build a relationship that offers a level of support and companionship that some individuals may have been missing for years. Once we understand who our Team Members are and their goals, we create individualized case plans to ensure they have the tools they need to overcome some of those barriers.
As one of 5 evidence-based best practices by the State of California Homelessness Task Report, DST is proud to have helped end 1,216 individuals’ experience with homelessness, 100% of whom have extremely low or no income, and 1,242 individuals’ experience with job insecurity, all while removing over 14 million gallons of debris from our streets and waterways. We average 8 employment placements per month, with roughly 91% of graduates keeping their jobs for 90 days.
Funded by Marin, CA (January 2022)