"In the shelter of each other the people live."
—Old Celtic Proverb
—Old Celtic Proverb
The goals of The Gubbio Project are two-fold:
- To provide a clean, beautiful, quiet, and safe space for people to rest during the day
- To cultivate a sense of community among the homeless and a sense of understanding and shared responsibility in the broader community
Sanctuary and Sacred SleepAn average of 95 unhoused neighbors seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church each weekday from 6 am to 3 pm. An average of 75 access our services (toiletries, blankets, clothing vouchers, referrals, clean bathrooms, haircuts). The Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary; the church uses the front 1/3 to celebrate the two daily masses. This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors - they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship. It also sends a message to those attending mass - the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.
This last year, we conducted surveys of our guests. The results show that we are indeed succeeding in creating a place where residents feel safe and respected, that is clean and beautiful. 95% of those surveyed said they usually feel safe at The Gubbio Project; For this population who live on the streets fearful of being beaten up or having their things stolen, this statistic is the most telling as to the success that we are having. In addition, 95% feel they are usually respected; that the pews are usually clean; and that the bathrooms are usually clean. 100% said they would definitely use the facilities again if needed; and 100% said they like Gubbio because it is peaceful and quiet.
Community EngagementFriday Morning Breakfast. Every Friday, the Gubbio Project invites volunteer groups to serve and eat breakfast with our neighbors who sleep on the pews. Each volunteer group comes to St Boniface kitchen monthly, provides the food, and prepares a home-cooked meal which they share with 30-50 guests. By having the volunteers sit down and share the meal with the guests, we are not only encouraging community among the homeless, but between the housed and un-housed as well.
Events. The Gubbio Project holds events regularly that bring our community together and facilitate deeper engagement with issues at the core of our mission. We hosted several speakers including Martin Sheen, speaking on his social activism work; Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles; and Shari Roeseler, former executive director of St Anthony's in San Francisco. We've also held arts events such as a professional play, titled "Hunter's Point," which explored issues of mental illness, homelessness and family and our "Social Justice Arts Night." READ MORE »
Engagement with Schools. Students from DeMarillac Academy and students from other local elementary and middle schools have regularly come to learn about homelessness and participate in volunteer opportunities such as assembling toiletry kits for guests, making breakfast and helping out at events. Students have also participated in mini-retreats and even donated the monetary portion of their 'Perseverance Awards' to the Gubbio Project! Students from St. Mary's College in Moraga and Oregon State University have slept on the pews in the church at night, pilgrimaged through the streets of the Tenderloin in the morning, and then prepared and shared a breakfast with our guests.
Volunteer Opportunities. We have a robust volunteer program at The Gubbio Project. Volunteers share and prepare breakfast; assist our Hospitality Monitors in maintaining the safe space in the sanctuary; assist with office support; provide chaplaincy, counseling, haircuts and HIV testing for guests; assist with fundraising and event planning; and collect, organize, and maintain our donations. We have 60 regular volunteers each month clocking 50 hours weekly. We also host visiting volunteer groups periodically. With a staff of only 2 full-time and 4 part-time employees, and little time to routinely recruit, these numbers speak to how deeply moved many are by the experience of visiting the sanctuary during the project's open hours. READ MORE »