Compass Family Services

Rating: 5 stars   12 reviews


49 Powell Street 3rd floor San Francisco CA 94102 USA


Compass Family Services serves families confronting poverty and homelessness by supporting their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency.


Compass Family Services, known until 1995 as Travelers Aid San Francisco, was established in 1914 to provide assistance to newcomers to the city, particularly young women and girls drawn by the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915). Since that time, Compass has served a wide range of populations from stranded travelers to refugees to homeless families, but a common denominator among the various groups has been a need for help in an often unfriendly urban environment.

Target demographics:

Low-income and homeless families

Geographic areas served:

San Francisco, CA


Compass Family Services creates a strong safety net for homeless and at-risk families by providing a broad continuum of services that help our clients find and maintain stable housing and build strong families. Compass' six programs for families are: Compass Connecting Point – The citywide access center for all families seeking shelter in San Francisco. Compass Family Shelter – A homeless shelter for families with private rooms and baths, plus prevention and aftercare services. Compass SF HOME - Compass' homelessness prevention program that provides qualifying families with short term rental subsidies and support. Compass Family Resource Center - A family resource center providing counseling and education to support healthy parent-child relationships. Compass Clara House – A two-year transitional housing program with individual family apartments, plus intensive support services and on site childcare. Compass Children's Center – Compass’ model child development and education center for children from homeless and very low-income families.

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Compass Family Services

Role: Board Member
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

As a volunteer and now board member, I can attest to the determined and effective efforts of the Compass staff. Compass's strategy to help families who may become homeless, before they become homeless is essential to helping the working poor of San Francisco. It is telling that people assisted in this situation follow through in giving back to Compass. All of the programs offered interconnect to make Compass a strong antidote to the cycle of poverty. Examples are: Teachers at the Tenderloin childcare center use state of the art methods to help children in difficult situation; including occupational therapy. Families struggling with addiction issues are assisted in comprehensive and holistic manner to get their lives on track. It is difficult to cover all of the beneficial elements of Compass's umbrella offers in a short format.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

presentations by Compass clients who are graduating from the programs, as well as board presentations.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase the number of case workers so that more people could be assisted. Also, develop the proper data base to track families across many data fields to insure focused, incisive assistance.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing and hearing first hand how the efforts by Compass staff have transformed lives.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

thorough, conscientious and caring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

put even more of its energy toward breaking the cycle of poverty through expansion and implementation of its methods to more people in need. Compass is already very lean on the admin side, a comprehensive data base is necessary to assist properly.

Ways to make it better...

we could raise more funds to support more of San Francisco's working poor.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of affordable housing in San Francisco.

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

Compass is a well-run, efficient, and effective organization with a loyal staff (many of whom have been with the agency over ten years--unheard of in social services). It treats its clients with respect and dignity, and goes above and beyond to help them avoid homelessness or gain permanent housing, while addressing their core needs. I have been on the board of directors for about 20 years and at one point when I thought I would look into getting involved in another nonprofit, I couldn't find one that does its job as well as Compass, so I stayed on!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, smart, personable, hard working.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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