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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

FESCO

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Family Services, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services

Mission: Family Emergency Shelter Coalition serves homeless and low-income families using approaches that instill or restore dignity, self-respect and self-reliance, so that families, their individual members, and the community are strengthened. FESCO was founded in 1986 by a group of churches to help address the needs of the growing number of families with children who were becoming homeless. The 30-member Coalition now includes churches and community organizations. FESCO serves families of all configurations—2-parent families, single dads, single moms, and all children under 18.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

I stayed at the shelter for 2 months with my two children and had a really positive shelter experience. I have stayed in two previously and they really didn't assist me in finding housing, they just gave me more shelter listings at the end of my stay. FESCO helped me and my children get out of the horrible shelter cycle that most families like myself go though and found us a place to live. I am so grateful to the staff, Evelyn, Korri, Clarence and the coordinator Larissa. I recommend this shelter to anyone who is tired of not getting results or proper help. These people really care and make a difference!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Larissa Elizondo really saved my families life. We had nothing, and I mean nothing! She helped us get clothes, got my kids back in school and even helped me find a job after only 3 weeks of staying there. The staff is amazing, they work so hard to make sure that people have a chance to succeed if they put in the work to get there.

I can't say enough about her, Evelyn, Kori, Mr. Clarence and crew... They really did save our lives and we are forever grateful!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I had some free time and had a skill set that I really believed would be valuable to a non profit. I am doing well for myself, so I decided to give back and wanted to do it locally. I did some research on the internet and found this non profit. Small, local, great cause...
I decided to jump right in and was very excited. After volunteering for about a month, I had mentioned to a colleague about the work I was doing and was very surprised when she was familiar with FESCO and let me know that she worked on their walk a thon's planning committee and was not impressed. She encouraged me to do my research before volunteering any more time or energy to FESCO.
After putting on my detective cap, I learned a few things that did not sit well with me.
I learned that the organization itself is about a $1.1 million organization and their new ED makes almost $100,000.00/ year! ( almost $15K more than the previous ED) Do your math..that's ridiculous. I also learned that almost half of the staff , that work directly with the people they serve, qualify for food stamps themselves because their pay is so minimal.
Understanding that a poer-house ED is worth almost $100,000.000/ a year, I wanted to find out what qualifies this salary.
I found that the ED came from another, similar non-profit, where she was supposedly passed up for several promotions. ( gotta love the internet and staff that will tell all) I do understand that this happens all the time to qualified individuals, so I kept digging. A friend of a friend is a Hayward Rotary member and I found out that FESCO's ED is also a member, so I started asking questions. Seems that the consensus is that she is " a lunatic" and very " narassic" .
My time is valuable and there are plenty of good , deserving non -profits that could all use a great volunteer. I , myself, cannot spend another minute or ounce of energy on a non profit that is led by this ED.
I feel sorry for the people that depend on this non-profit to help them get back on their feet, but between the waste of resources and the reputation of the ED, I will be moving on to the next non-profit.
Please, do your research before volunteering at a non-profit. Their salaries and backgrounds are all public information. Just ask!

4

Client Served

Rating: 1

I heard that FESCO use to be a good place, well it has not been since Carla Bell and Larrisa Elizondo have been really messing up families lives. I was promised so much by Carla all lies and Larrisa does not know how to do her job. She has no help for homeless families, but just hides never answers her phone or keeps appointment. My family and I were doing okay at Banyan House until I was moved and never had case manager never got any help and they put my things on the street and sent me and my children to the street. FESCO and all of the people that now work there are terrible people. Carla Bell is a thief that took gift cards donated for our children to get school clothes, and larrisa drinks so much she just h ides and is scared for her job, it is too badd that this happened under the watch of Cate Stean too insensitive to care anyway

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a single mother who had NOTHING and started giving up hope on everyone and everything that was going on in my LIFE and to make matters worse I became homeless. we had moved into FESCO SHELTER and I thought that maybe this was a place that wasn't going to help me out with the things that i needed help with but BOYYYYYYYYYYYYY was I WRONG!!! I went from having NOTHING to having SOMETHING (MORE THEN I WOULD EVER IMAGINE)...I'm about to get into permanent housing a place for MY KIDS & I to call home. (NO MORE HOUSE HOPING FOR US...) I can honestly say that I am truly blessed to have stayed at FESCO. FESCO is the reason why I able to SUCCEED in life. To all FESCO staff members (ESP. SARAH ) you ALLLLLLL are the BOMB.COM that's including the SHELTER PROGRAM COORDINATOR (LARISSA E.). being at FESCO makes me feel like...I WAS BLESSED WITH THE BEST SHELTER & I'M TO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED...I OFFICIALLY LOVE MY LIFE AND EVERYONE IN IT...I've closed the doors to all the dark days that I've had in life and now I am facing a stable and bright future...MORE POWER TO FESCO SHELTER...

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a single mother with three children and we are only one of the many familys who has experienced loosing our home and becoming homeless. Being in a shelter was something i never expected to have to go through. I was dissapointed and embarrased of my situation, but after meeting the other people here at FESCO, I learned that they were just the same as me. Just because I was homeless didn't make me any less of a person and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. FESCO has helped me accomplish goals that seemed so out of reach when I first got here, but with their encouragement and guidance my children and I have found housing and are ready to turn a new page in our lives. I can't explain in words how thankful I am to Larissa, Sarah, Evelyn, Naomi, Korri, Mr. Clarence, Dinyal, Theresa, and Carla. We will never forget this journey we took with all of you having our back, Thank you FESCO

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a mother of three daughter and we were going through a rough time, after leaving my husband and our house because he created the situation. as we were begining to falter in hope FESCO came into our lives and gave us strength and hope and courage in many ways.For example,FESCO provided us with a shelter and food as well as providing our basic needs.The staff were very supportive and they encouraged us to not give up and stay strong.They helped us feel like we were in our own home.FESCO gave us warmth and comfort which allowed us to look forward to and gave us hope to have a better life.We appreciate specially to Respected Larissa and Respected Sarah and Respected Clarance.Thankyou FESCO and more power.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I stayed at the FESCO Hayward house when I was 8 years old. That was almost 20 years ago, and I still remember the wonderful caring treatment my mother and I received. What they do is wonderful and I am so glad they are still serving needy families in the Bay Area.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Rotary Club of Castro Valley supports FESCO by collecting school supplies, sheets/blankets/ toiletries etc. and doing small projects when we can. The FESCO staff are always so compassionate and sincere. They work hard and are mission driven. We are proud to support their efforts.

1 Kathy234567891011

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I have been supporters of FESCO for several years. I recently became FESCO's representative from All Saints Church, as a member of All Saints Parish. I have toured FESCO's facilities on 3rd Street and Banyan house I can tell you FESCO does an excellent job of providing help to families both in an extremely organized and loving way. FESCO does more than provide a place to stay; they help people with counseling, resources for housing, and support so they can again become productive members of society, with the tools to succeed. My own mother was once homeless as a child, and it was with the help of a Shelter similar to FESCO that enabled her and her sisters to get back on their feet. I believe FESCO's work and mission is very valuable, taking at risk famiies and helping them again become self-sustaining!

Janet23456

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to serve on the Board of Directors for FESCO for the past eleven years. During this time, I have personally witnessed the agency's growth, unfailing support, and deep commitment to serving very low income and homeless families with children in our community. One of the biggest differences between FESCO and other shelters is that FESCO not only offers homeless families food, clothing, and temporary housing, it also offers mental health counseling, parenting classes, and links to community resources that lead families to a self-sustaining life. One of the greatest inspirations of my involvement with FESCO is knowing that homeless families with children are able to stay together during a time of difficult transition and move beyond the inequities of our social system. I am deeply grateful for FESCO's dedicated staff and outstanding leadership of our Executive Director, Cate Steane, who strive to fulfill FESCO's mission and vision to end family homelessness in our community.

Meshill D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

its my 1st time being in a shelter, but the environment at where i and my kids choose to stay at was not really like a shelter for me is like a home. the staff are great and my overall being in a shelter for the first time was excellent.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a grassroots organization with substantial volunteer support, FESCO has been able to do amazing things in our community with very modest finances! Hundreds of formerly homeless families are now productive members of the community thanks to FESCO. As an example, last year 83% of our families who stayed more than two weeks moved to more permanent housing.

The aim of the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) is to enable homeless families with children to move toward self-sufficiency. FESCO provides both short-term emergency housing and longer stays in transitional co-housing, as well as food, support services, and education. It does all of these things and more with a caring and skilled staff and volunteers.

Previous Stories
7

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to serve on FESCO's all-volunteer board of directors for the past 14 years. I have served as Board President and on several committees. In 1996 I created FESCO's original website and have been maintaining it over the years; look for FESCO at www.fescofamilyshelter.org.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to FESCO at the Banyan House two years ago. My two children and I had been sleeping in our car and then in a very uncomfortable shelter that made us leave at 9am every morning. This made it hard for me to find employment with having to get my children ready and off to school and no time for myself. I was accepted into Banyan House and had my own room. I was able to make use of the resource room to seek employment and get myself ready for interviews. I was able to give my children the warmth and comfort of a home away from home. They were happy at Banyan all of the staff were so nice and helpful. Antoinette helped us to get into housing and in just 8 months we had a permanent place to live and I found a really good job as an administrator for a small but successful company. My family will forever be grateful to all of the people that make Banyan the warm and loving home that it is. It is with the structure and consistency of the House that we got on track in our lives. Thank You FESCO.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have to say that this was one of the most organized places I have ever helped. First, let me say that the work of the shelter manager Larissa is outstanding. She made my experience so pleasurable, that I have asked other friends and family to help out this organization. I know she may not have realized what a impact that she had on me that day, but I will continue to support any organization that has staff members like her. Thank you FESCO for all of the help you provide to those in need!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi I would just like to say thank you FESCO because you helped us so much. When my dad died I didn't know what we were going to do and hearing so many things about shelters I didn't want to put my kids in that kind of position, but we lost the house and didn't have anywhere to go so I called FESCO and told them we were in a motel and didn't know what was going to happen The Hayward Family Shelter part of FESCO took us in and after that everything got better. We followed the rules and the staff was great they helped us get back on our feet. We saved our money and moved out and my son got a job through the youth program which FESCO helped get my son into. FESCO has always been supportive and continue to help us when needed. Each and everyone of the staff members helped us and my hats go off to everyone of them because they do care about people and want to help but you have to do your part too and I get that now and how important team work really is. I see someone on the street that doesn't have anything and I stop and give them what I can because FESCO helped me and I never thought I would be able to help some one else. I appreciate it. I love each and everyone of them I carry them in my heart and take them with me whereve I go. My kids and I enjoyed being a part of FESCO.
So thank you very my FESCO Family, Sarah, Mr. Clarence, Evelyn, Naomi. Thanks to all you guys we have been able to reach self sufficiency, And Larissa is a big part of it, she goes way beyond to help us out!





1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Hector Maciel and i stay at FESCO shelter. When we first arrived to the shelter everything was clean and organized we were really impressed with how nice the place looked and how comforatable we felt. The staff immediatly helped us and took us to our room were we were going to stay. The room was clean and nice, it had the feeling of being at home. We were so welcomed my kids started to want to play and werent so shy anymore. Within a week of staying at FESCO we were started looking for housing and apply for jobs because the staff were so friendly and eager to help us and so easily to communicate with. This experience has been a good life changing experieance for me, my wife and my kids. We are so happy and very fortunate to be in this program, it has made me very happy and greatful to know that there are people that care and understand how challenging life can get especially when you don't have any place go or who to ask for help. THANK YOU FESCO for all the great work you guys do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I want to thank FESCO'S BANYAN house for being there for me and my family when I was facing homelessness. I had been incarcerated and lost custody of my children. I was re-unified with my children after I completed a live in drug program, but had to be in a place that was approved by Child Protective Services. I got employment and was renting an apartment in a drug infested area in Oakland. My Child Welfare worker was concerned not only for my children but for me being in that enviornment. I also could not afford the rent anymore and had to leave. My chldren and I were homeless for awhile and my Child welfare worker applied for us at Banyan and we were accepted into the program.The place is wonderful, it is quite and warm and the staff treat us with dignity and caring. Antoinet has applied for housing for us and I pray that we get approved into permanent supportive housing. We would be able to chose our own place in a good neighborhood and be safe and never have to worry about being homeless again. Thanks to all of the wonderful people that keep FESCO open and work so hard to help all of it's clients.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to FESCO/ Banyan House from a homeless shelter with my four year old son. I am very grateful to have a nice place that I feel safe in. Staff is very helpful to me. Antonette has been wonderful! She helps me on a daily basis with resources and informative information. She has been a very positive influence to me and my child. I am extremely happy and grateful to be working with Antonette! Thank you :) FESCO for being there for us

Client Served

Rating: 5

The economy has affected all people. I have gone thru two forclosures in two years. This is what brought me to FESCO. Looking for affordable house is hard with out the help of knoweledgeable people. Being at FESCO had given me time to look for a place I can afford. The staff had lots of knoweledgeable information if they did not have answers they took the time to find out what was needed. If I needed someone to talk too they took the time to give me the suport I needed. I was placed in a room with several other people going thru the program. The people I was put with where well screened to where I felt safe being in a room with them. Not having to worry about food or where I was going to lay my head at night gave me plenty of time to think about the things that where important. Getting my child to school and making sure she had a good lunch and support when she needed it. I know I can find the support I need at the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition! Thank You to all the staff! What a pleasure spending time with this organization!