We are Stanford students working to establish a community-run, student-supported homeless shelter. Through our involvement with Stanford Night Outreach, all of us have built friendships with unhoused members of the Palo Alto community. We’ve met people we respect who have helped us clarify our connection to society. It is with gratitude to these friends, in reciprocation for the support they have freely given, that we now share our plans and ask for your support.
No society should inflict the experience of homelessness without adequate options. Boston Healthcare for the Homeless found the average age of death for a group of chronically unhoused individuals was 51 years. The health risks should be coercion enough -- we need to act. We believe our community can offer shelter and housing options that respect all its members.
Currently, 178 unhoused individuals live in Palo Alto, CA (the city surrounding Stanford University). The only shelter in the entire city has 15 beds and a waiting list that has, at times, included over 200 people. Our shelter will help meet this real need for housing options. Together, we as members of Stanford campus, unhoused and housed residents of Palo Alto, and area service providers will engage in open dialogue to make decisions, fill administrative responsibilities and support shelter guests.
The state of homelessness in the United States demands action. A Stanford community-run homeless shelter will create a place for our community to learn from each other, increase the representation of unhoused individuals, and surmount systemic barriers to adequate housing. Demonstrate your support as we learn from partners on and off-campus and prepare our business proposals.
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