Alisa Jackson, An Advocate for All!

“I get to see clients grow, access benefits, find housing, and become stable. It’s been really gratifying to work for PRC this long.” 

For many of PRC’s clients, Alisa Jackson is the first person they interact with on their quest for support. Having advocated for herself and countless others for nearly two decades, she’s appropriately earned the nickname Queen Bee of the legal team. She’s the go-to person when anyone has a question, and she does it all with compassion and a warm welcoming smile.  

A true San Francisco native, Alisa was raised in the Bayview and later in Pacifica, the result of her grandparents moving her family to the Bay Area from North Carolina in the 1960s. Following her roots, Alisa studied at the University of North Carolina but returned to San Francisco to pursue an additional degree in Paralegal Studies. Today Alisa lives in Oakland with her nine-year-old son, who shares her passion for philanthropy and social justice. Prior to the pandemic, Alisa and her “little buddy”, as she calls her son, were highly active in community service, delivering fresh produce from a friend’s co-op to the homeless encampments in East Oakland. When the world transitioned to working from home, her son got to witness Alisa working with clients firsthand. Since then, he has become an advocate in his own right in being respectful of people’s correct pronouns and does not hesitate to speak up and protect his friends. To Alisa and her son, no one is a stranger, and everyone is a friend.

What brought you to PRC? 

“While I was in college, I noticed that there weren’t many services in North Carolina, and I wanted to get involved. The variety of services in San Francisco was another aspect that stood out to me.  I decided that if there’s a way for me to be involved in the services that are helping my community, then I can also share this knowledge with friends and family members outside of San Francisco. With this information at my disposal, I can say: these are the resources that are out there. You may not have them in your state but in San Francisco, we have everything, so let me help you to navigate and find those resources in your community.

“Initially, my plan was to go to law school. I volunteered at the Eviction Defense Collaborative and thought, before I go to law school, I should find a job in the field and make sure this is what I want to do. I completed my paralegal certificate at City College and began looking for work at a nonprofit. PRC’s mission really spoke to me. I liked the idea of helping people who are HIV positive or living with mental health struggles. At that time, people with HIV weren’t living as long.  The mission is close to my heart because I have family members who have passed away from HIV. When I saw the posting for PRC, I thought, that sounds like something I can do. I decided to pursue more of a legal assistant role and try to earn some money before acquiring law school debt. I’ve done really well utilizing the skills I earned with my paralegal certificate, but law school is still on the table in the near future.”

Can you describe your role as the Supervising Legal Assistant? 

“Essentially I’m the go-to resource for all the different departments. I supervise a total of five legal assistants, and I work closely with the supervising attorneys and the managing legal director. I’m the gatekeeper because I navigate the calls that come in. Whether clients need help with social security, health care, or other legal needs, those calls come to me. I have a plethora of knowledge regarding PRC and the community members that we work with. My function is to support the attorneys in their role with helping people get their claims approved.“

How long have you been the Supervising Legal Assistant? 

“It’s been a solid six years now as the Supervising Legal Assistant. I advocated for a Senior Legal Assistant title by writing a letter explaining why I deserved the promotion after the first six years with PRC. Prior to that, the Senior title didn’t exist. I love my job and I enjoy helping others. I like to think that I help advocate for both staff and clients as well. I advocate for a lot of things. But I don’t try to force my way. I choose my battles. If I feel like something is wrong, I’m going to speak up about it.” 

What aspects of your job do you find rewarding?

“Clients who accessed services way back when our offices were located on Market Street are frequently surprised that I’m still here after so many years, and they are always so happy to see me. When I greet our African American clients, I get to see the pride and joy in their faces knowing that someone that looks like them will be representing them. I’m in a position of power and also a position of help. Representation is incredibly important. These types of connections are really special to me.”

There tend to be a lot of stigmas surrounding homelessness and mental health issues. For anyone who holds these feelings, what would you tell them to help change their perspective? 

“I was raised to respect all people, no matter what. There’s a lot of stigma or bias for people of color, African American women, the LGBT communities, or simply being part of certain groups. I say be respectful of all people, no matter what, because at the end of the day, when it comes to being homeless, especially in San Francisco, it can happen to anyone. One day you may lose your job. And you’ll be in the same position. My main objective is to put things in perspective. You never really know what a person has gone through, so be mindful of that.” 

For somebody who wants to help out, what’s the best way for them to get involved?

“Find an organization whose mission is dear to your heart and volunteer. There are so many organizations and many of them were created during COVID as people either lost their job or saw that there was a need and wanted to help. Do an online search. Look on Instagram. Find a local organization and volunteer once a week or month. Then spread the word and tell your community: hey, I’m helping such and such organization with a, b, and c, and try to bring friends. Start somewhere close to where you live. That way you’ll be making a direct impact on your local community. And if you have the means, please donate.”

What do you do to combat compassion fatigue? 

“I remind myself frequently that it could be me in the client’s shoes. There have been so many times where I’ve had a rough day, then I go to talk to a client, and they tell me that I just made their day. I gave them information that they didn’t know. Then I feel a lot better, and that puts me back on track. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, and then the phone will ring, and I think, should I take it? Then someone will tell me that they’re so thankful and grateful that I took the time to talk to them, and that always reminds me of why I’m here, and it makes it all rewarding.”

You’ve seen PRC grow for nearly 17 years. Do you see a difference in how clients feel coming into our new office building compared to how they felt when they accessed services at the Market Street location? 

“Due to COVID, we’re no longer in the office five days a week like we were, but we strive to help as many people as possible. We try our best, and I feel that for the most part, we succeed. For clients who received services at the old building, when they come into our new office and I see the expression on their face, they love it. I hope they see the new building as our commitment to them and providing a comfortable home-like atmosphere where they feel appreciated and valued.”  

Is there anything that you feel that our readers should know about the work being done here by you and your colleagues?

“Keep believing in PRC because we’re here for the long run. I know a lot of nonprofits don’t survive, but we’re still here. And there are still a lot of great people coming in and out. We serve San Francisco’s most vulnerable population, and they need your help too. Be kind, give smiles instead of judgment, and do the right thing, even if it’s the harder option. If you can, give back when you are able.” 

If you enjoyed getting to know Alisa and the impactful work she does for PRC’s clients, please consider making a donation to support our mission. If you would like to learn more about Legal Advocacy, PRC’s programs, or the wonderful staff at PRC, you can read more stories on our blog or visit our website.

“It’s been amazing to witness so many positive success stories in the short amount of time we’ve been open.”

Picture yourself living on the streets of San Francisco: you’ve lost your job, your home, your friends, your support system, and as a result, you’ve lost all confidence that things will change for the better. Whether this is the cause or result of substance addiction, struggles with mental health, or a myriad of other circumstances, this is an unfortunate and terrifying reality for thousands of San Francisco residents. The longer a person faces this heartbreaking reality, the harder it becomes to find any light at the end of a seemingly never-ending dark tunnel. That’s where we step in. When all hope is lost, there’s PRC.

On May 18th, 2021, PRC opened its second Hummingbird respite center in San Francisco’s Mission District, where many homeless individuals struggle to find resources and the help needed to make meaningful changes in their lives. Based on the model of its predecessor, Hummingbird Potrero, located at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, these programs are the first step for those with the desire to change their life course for the better, and get the help needed to assist in making those changes.

Michelle Sanchez is the project director for the new Hummingbird Valencia location, and we recently sat down with her to give our readers an inside look into what services these locations offer, and how they can have a positive impact on a person’s life.

Michelle has an intrinsic desire to help people and has dedicated her career to serving those who need her help. Originally from Southern California, she studied clinical psychology at UC Santa Barbara, then went on to earn her Master’s in the field from Notre Dame De Namur in Belmont. Immediately after graduating she started working for PRC’s Baker Places residential treatment facilities as a counselor, then advanced as the Director of Intake. Her success in that role then led her to become the Project Director for Joe Healy Medical Detox, and after nearly eleven years in the field, her skills and dedication led her to become the Project Director at Hummingbird Valencia. Having worked in nearly every department at Baker Places, she’s gained the knowledge and experience needed to address the complexity of situations her clients face, and to be successful in her role.

Can you explain to our readers what a Hummingbird Center is?

“It’s a low threshold navigation center, a resource center, and a respite, meaning a period of rest or relief from being on the streets. At Hummingbird, we serve our homeless community who struggle with mental health, substance abuse, medical issues, HIV, and everything under the sun. The main purpose of Hummingbird is best described as a question: Where are individuals going to go while they’re waiting for the appropriate program, when they’re not yet eligible for treatment, or when they’re waiting for housing? Many times they don’t have an ID, or they don’t have Medi-Cal. So instead of being out on the street, they’re able to be here in a safe place while we work to refer them to either treatment programs, housing, or link them to case management.”

Is someone able to come to you directly off of the streets, or do they have to be referred?

“We have two programs at Hummingbird Valencia: an overnight program and another for day drop-in clients. For the overnight program need to be referred for overnight stays and approved by the SFDPH Placement Team.  They are often referred by Street Crisis Response Team or Homeless Outreach Team. Basically, they need to be part of our homeless community.”

How does that work?

“Our mission is to engage with our community and to let them know that this is a safe place to be, that there are resources out there. As the Project Director, I do my best to monitor our neighborhood and if there is an incident with an individual, we reach out. One of our teams will pick up an individual who’s on the street, they’ll engage with them and tell them about us, and if they decide to give it a try, we do the rest. We coordinate with the client and try to ease them into the idea of treatment. It might just be a matter of getting them through the door or getting a COVID test, coming for coffee, a meal, washing clothes, or taking a shower. The showers are such a luxury here, and some of our clients haven’t had a shower in a long, long time. Those are the basics. They’re just coming straight off of the street, and we’re making them aware of the services we provide while they access our day drop-in services.”

How does the day drop-in program differ from the overnight program?

“Our day drop-in can entail any homeless client coming in to hang out upstairs and watch TV, or take a shower and eat, and they get to leave. They’re here anytime between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, every day. Some clients benefit from that because they’re not quite ready to commit to a program or to leave their carts and their belongings. They aren’t ready to trust anyone. But they’re at least coming in to dip their toes in the water, or simply have a meal knowing it’s a safe place during the day. Some people who come in have medical issues and we have medical staff here on site. We’re able to talk to them and get them help. So it’s an amazing service.”

Does a client have to leave their belongings behind for them to access your programs?

“We can store moderate amounts, like a single cart, in a secure storage area in our garage, which is guarded by security, and that makes them feel safe. But we do have to debug and label everything if being admitted and staying overnight. These are their belongings, and we want to make sure that we have respect for their things. That’s their whole lives, you know.  We do our best to treat their belongings respectfully, so we allow them to bring their things in. We don’t have room to store multiple carts for each person, however, so individuals with multiple carts are hesitant to leave their possessions behind. They also have to take their belongings with them when they leave.”

Are there other services or programs of this kind?

“PRC’s services are a completely unique and new level of care. The Hummingbird centers have never existed before now. Hummingbird Potrero is on the campus of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Every day I consult with Melida Solorzano, the Project Director there, to discuss certain clients and the best environment for them to be placed. I previously worked directly under Melida when I was a counselor and I love all the work she’s done as the divisional director at the time. And now at Hummingbird Valencia, it’s nice because I’ve been able to consult with her and pick her brain on things.”

Are you at full capacity now?

“Yes, we are. We have currently have 26 beds and are working to increase capacity to 30 beds in the near future. COVID precautions have required us to integrate additional beds slowly. But people come in and out, and we fill the beds as people leave. That’s what it looks like in any program.”

What happens when you’re full? If somebody comes in, do they get put on a waiting list?

“I have several people who are waiting on a bed, so I’m constantly in contact with the providers, Melida, and Dore Urgent Care Clinic. We’re always trying to make a plan so that clients don’t have to wait very long. Most of the time, people get into Hummingbird Valencia the same day. If they have to wait for a bed, it can take a day or two.”

How long is the average stay?

“About two weeks, though we have a few clients who have been here since July waiting on board and cares facilities that provide 24-hour assistance with things like dressing, bathing, and medication management, and they are slim to none when it comes to availability. A lot of people continue to struggle with substance use while being in a program. So some people might last a week or two, which is great. But there are some who are only here for a couple of days. They felt the need to get some rest from being on the street, and then they go back out. It can be part of that vicious cycle, but every time we engage and welcome them back. The luxury of Hummingbird Valencia is that they can come back.”

Is addiction one of the main factors that causes somebody to leave and then come back?

“Yes, that is the main reason people self-discharge. It’s those cravings. We provide group meetings – a mandatory meeting in the morning and an optional one in the evening, and counselors are here 24/7. A lot of meetings focus on recovery and mental health, but it depends on what the need is. At the same time, we’re trying to engage and plant a seed, letting our clients know that there are resources and help out there. Even in the middle of the night, if they have cravings, or they need to talk to someone, they have our support. We know it takes time, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”

For a client who leaves, how hard is it for them to get back into the program?

“When we’re at full capacity, clients go on the waiting list. But I tell them to keep coming to day drop-in offerings because they’re always welcome. And a few people have. I can write the referral and work with the placement team so it’s possible, and they know this.  When clients leave, we always tell them that’s fine, it’s their decision. It’s absolutely voluntary to stay with us, and if they ever want to come back, we are here and can help.

Do all of your clients graduate to other programs?

“A large portion of our clients do move onto other treatment programs. We’re either getting them into substance abuse treatment, or they’re going to one of our Baker programs for dual diagnosis, meaning substance use and mental health treatment. That’s what is so awesome about PRC Baker Places. Other programs usually have a mental health program or a substance abuse program only. We have programs that help with both. That’s where PRC Baker Places really shines. We recognize that they go hand in hand, and we cater to both, which is rare.”

Do your clients get along well?

“For the most part, yes, but there have been a few rare moments of discord. I’ve seen a community unfold and grow, and It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. But I see people making friends, creating community, and building social support, which is great. Clients who are unhappy because they don’t get along with people, or they’re too paranoid, typically leave as a result. They’ll self-discharge if it’s not for them because we’re a voluntary program.”

Have you had to pivot due to COVID 19?

“DPH in collaboration with PRC has developed a process for us to use Binax rapid COVID testing at our location. Our process is to test all individuals arriving for day drop-in and overnight beds prior to their entry into the program.  We work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) COVID Command staff to inform them of any positive test results and have a process for confirmatory testing. We work with SFDPH providers in securing a location for the client to enter if they have a positive Binax test so they can be monitored and have care provided as necessary.” 

Have you had any outbreaks at Hummingbird?

“There hasn’t been an outbreak because we are diligent, and we follow the recommended health protocols. Our instances of client positive COVID tests are rare because we require both staff and clients to adhere to safe practices for COVID mitigation including the use of PPE, wearing masks, and social distancing. For example, one client who tested positive was working with the Street Crisis Response Team. They were able to take the client to the hospital and work with him to get a shelter-in-place hotel instead of dropping him off in the neighborhood where it could potentially spread. It was an opportunity to also educate the client about COVID and the benefits of wearing a mask, and make sure that he was aware of the importance of not only continuing to get tested, but also going to the hospital, monitoring his symptoms, and not spreading it.”

Has the pandemic limited your ability to move clients through the programs?

“Yes, COVID has slowed the process for getting clients into our programs, but clients haven’t had to wait too long as compared to last year, and we have multiple Baker Places programs that they can go to. It’s generally wherever a bed is available. And we work very closely with our intake department so we’re tracking clients from day one of them being with us.”

How many more Hummingbird facilities do we need in our city?

“Oh my! As many as we can get, and I’d love to be part of them all! It’s been amazing to witness so many positive success stories in the short amount of time we’ve been open.”

While we would love to have multiple clones of Michelle and a Hummingbird facility in every San Francisco neighborhood, we also need the resources to ensure that each of the many thousands of homeless individuals living on our streets has a bed and the programs needed to assist them on their journey to recovery and greater independence.

If you’ve enjoyed learning about Hummingbird Valencia and how Michelle assists San Francisco’s homeless population on their journey to recovery, please consider supporting this work with a donation today.

If you would like to learn more about the work being done at PRC, we invite you to read more client and staff stories on our blog.

And All That Pride…

Some things don’t have to change. We are who we are. Thank god.

While this pandemic will prevent us from marching down Market Street in colorful mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parades held in San Francisco and New York City, it does not prevent us from coming together to celebrate ourselves, our hard-fought achievements, our rampant creativity, and our strength in community.

(As published in  the San Francisco Bay Times, May 21, 2020)

On the contrary, it should inspire us to do so regardless – safely, of course, with smart adherence to in-person social distancing guidelines, and plenty of aplomb.

I have long admired my good friends Donna Sachet and Gary Virginia—the most dynamic of duos—giving, doing, organizing, giving, convening, inspiring, doing, (did I mention giving?), entertaining, celebrating, and bringing it over and over again in big and small ways to meet community needs. So, I am not surprised that they will outdo themselves again this year.  

Their legendary Pride Brunch—the event of the seasonwill go on, June 27th, and everyone is invited!  

Donna and Gary's Brunch ChallengeFrom the comfort of your living room, kitchen, or dining room, Gary and Donna will bring you the Grand Marshals of the Pride Parade at high-noon on Saturday June 27th, honor the rich history of LGBTQ culture and liberation, and celebrate 50 years of San Francisco Pride with a saucy kitchen battle. The two will share their favorite brunch recipes and you will be the judge yourself, crowning the winner “Pride Brunch Queen.” 

We can sit back and relax with hosted cocktails and a delicious brunch delivered right to our respective doors. Or you can dance, parade, and sing along to live entertainment, live auctions, and special surprises in the privacy of your own home. This longstanding PRC fundraiser honors individuals and organizations fighting for LGBTQ equality, while raising critical dollars for PRC’s lifesaving services like legal advocacy, emergency financial assistance, residential treatment, and employment services. 

Celebrating 50 years of San Francisco community Pride, parading, and action, it is hard to believe how far the LGBTQ movement has come since the Stonewall riots eruptedawakening a new generation of legal and social advocacy. In retrospect, this turning point brings new lessons today amid this evolving era of worldwide COVID-19 public health emergency. We are all connected, and we are stronger when we stand together. 

As public consciousness is rising about that interconnectedness and our Country’s glaring health, income and access inequities, I am proud of San Francisco, our LGBT and allied communities. We’re on the frontlines, showing up for the most vulnerable again and again. And while there is still plenty of work to doI look forward to celebrating the contributions and opportunities brought by this year’s Grand Marshals—The LGBT Asylum Project, Founder of the Spahr Center Rev. Dr. Jane Spahr, and Executive Director of the LGBT Historical Society Terry Beswick—at this year’s virtual Pride Brunch.  

PRC, Pride Brunch’s beneficiary, has long fought for the most disenfranchised and health-challenged in our community on the frontlines of HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ advocacy for access to basic and critical resources. Today, these efforts are even more important as the impact of longstanding fissures in health status and experiences by race, geography, income, and identity are laid bare by the novel coronavirus. PRC is providing emergency funds for rent, medication, and connectivity; legal advocacy to preserve healthcare and subsistence income through job loss and upheaval; and emotional support and employment services to keep people moving forward; while also sheltering nearly 300 adults in place through a substance use and mental health treatment continuum prioritizing health, safety, and wellness.  

As a 55-year old African American gay man, I am both deeply familiar with the disconnection between legal equality and lived equality and deeply indebted to the collective advocacy of so many courageous individuals who were willing to hold the line, never back down, and stand in harm’s way. So, let’s come together on June 27th and celebrate what’s good and great about San Francisco Pride.

Inspired again by Gary and Donna, I think the dire issues of the day will continue to galvanize us – a  Inspired again by Gary and Donna, I think the dire issues of the day will continue to galvanize us – a strongereven more compassionate community. I choose joy, love, honesty, empathy, compassion and service along with a hint of leather, lipstick, and humor. So, let’s brunch 

How could we not celebrate Pride’s 50th anniversary. I’m already planning my outfit. Don’t miss the Battle of the Queens, Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet’s legendary Pride Bruch, streaming live at 12pm on June 27th. Tickets are on sale, so get yours today, and prepare to give big. See you there. 

Computer Learning Center Expands Opportunity

Inside PRC’s buzzing 24-station Computer Learning Center, more than 100 people like Marilyn, Kim, and Sam are building digital literacy and skills to grow their income and workforce engagement.

“I’m so excited to move forward and into the workforce again.”

Outdated skills and gaps in employment can be hard to face, so PRC Workforce Development offers skill and community building opportunities that get people trained-up, confident, and back on their feet. Two accredited programs—Next Step Computer Training and Step Up Administrative Training—provide 64 combined hours of digital literacy and office skills readying people with mental and physical health disabilities for competitive internships and employment opportunities. Last year, PRC ran 20 cycles graduating 106 trainees!

“I have a better grasp on how this [technology] works…finally.”

The results speak for themselves. In 2019, employed graduates saw their annual incomes increase 337%.

People with disabilities experience three times the unemployment rate of the general population. But PRC is getting people into the workforce at more than double the statewide rate. When PRC opened the Integrated Service Center’s doors in April 2019, our computer lab’s capacity more than doubled, and the Workforce Development team began to ramp up classes, programs, and skill building opportunities. In less than one year, with the same high quality, high impact instruction, enrollment is up 30%.

“I can’t place a value on this experience. It was motivational, personally uplifting, and I learned so much in such a short time.”

December Graduates: Marilyn (above); Kim (top), flanked by PRC volunteer Troy Kondo and Computer Training Associate (and former graduate) Tomas Llorence; and Sam (left).

PRC also launched LIFT UP SF – Lifting Up Peers for a Brighter Tomorrow – a 64-hour curriculum putting real life experience with mental health and substance use services to work for graduates as peer professionals across public health and social service fields. The first cohort just entered paid traineeships, the final step in advance of competitive employment placements at PRC and partner health agencies across San Francisco. The second cohort is double in size, with 15 students gaining competencies to put their lived experience to work advancing community health.


For graduates like Phil (not pictured), opportunities like Next Step, Step Up, and LIFT UP SF are transformational. A longtime PRC client, Phil has overcome drug addiction and homelessness. Fifteen years ago, when he was newly diagnosed with HIV, Phil accessed PRC’s legal services to secure disability benefits. Most recently he’s moving forward with PRC workforce development. “I feel really good right now in my recovery; I’m mentally stable and poised to be able to go off of disability [benefits] and back into the workforce…But the highlight of [LIFT UP SF] is the overall realization that my life experience is worth something. I can connect with that person going down a certain pathhelp people who are drug addicted, homeless, and in health crisis to get from that place—from where I was stuck—to where I am now.”

“My objective is to find a place where I’m happy and a place to grow”

On top of skills-based training and practice in the lab, clients work with PRC specialists to accessed tailored supports in resume and cover letter writing, skills inventories, vocational assessments, interview preparation, and post-placement counseling. PRC partners with some of the largest employers in San Francisco including the University of California at San Francisco, the City and County of San Francisco, the State of California, Apple, Genentech, Target, H+R Block, Starbucks, Blue Apron, Hyatt, Genentech, Uber, Alaska Airlines, Salesforce, Apple, Old Navy, and Whole Foods. The average wage of clients placed in employment was $20.66 per hour in 2018, 38% higher than the local minimum wage.

Congratulations to all our participants and graduates! We’re proud to stand with you, moving forward.

Learn more about PRC’s Workforce Development trainings and services here or reach out about hiring partnerships and putting graduates to work for you.

Lift UP SF: A win-win-win for San Francisco

We’re proud to introduce a new pathway to personal and economic growth for the thousands of people overcoming mental health, HIV or substance use challenges each year in San Francisco. One of five California programs selected, the Office of Statewide Health Planning will invest nearly $500,000 over two years in PRC’s award winning workforce development model. The result? We’re scaling up a peer-to-peer occupational training pathway recently launched in partnership with San Francisco’s Department of Public Health. Lifting Up Peers for a Brighter Tomorrow or Lift UP SF is a win for consumers, a win for behavioral health services providers, and a win for San Francisco.

Lift UP SF readies consumers—people in and exiting mental health and substance use treatment programs, family members, and caregivers—to put their lived experience to use on a competitive career path. It spans a 64-hour comprehensive training curriculum designed by advocates and consumers, individualized placement support, and peer group services to prepare graduates for volunteer, part-time, and full-time peer positions in the most common health settings: Social and Human Service Assistants, Case Workers, Case Managers, Client Advocates, Family Self-Sufficiency Specialists, and Independent Living Specialists among others.

Leveraging the experience of people with lived experience in mental health, substance use, and public health systems doesn’t just make sense, it’s proven to result in better outcomes for consumers on both sides of the interaction.

Beyond professional skill delivery, peer specialists in health settings share the same vocabulary as those they help, have credibility, and embody an accessible vision of success. Paid or volunteer employment is also a key component of recovery from mental health and substance use disorders, particularly methamphetamine addiction. The act of going to training, getting placed in employment, and accessing a supportive community support throughout this process dramatically improves an individual’s ability to maintain their recovery.

This pathway is timely, right here and right now. San Francisco has very low unemployment (1.9%) overall, but prosperity and stability are not shared equitably across our community. A high cost of living, driven primarily by housing expenses, strains many long-time residents and the populations PRC serves. African Americans and other communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, people with behavioral health disorders, and people living with HIV are overrepresented among the unemployed and have lower than average salaries, placing them at high risk for displacement and homelessness. People with lower incomes also have higher rates of mental health disorders.

It’s a circular argument Lift UP SF seeks to disrupt.

The training program specifically reaches into these under-employed consumer groups to provide more than a living wage. An increasing economic outlook seeds hope, and a career trajectory positions consumers—people like those exiting PRC’s 30/60/90 day treatment programs or in our co-op living around the city—to progress through the continuum of care and transition successfully to independent living.

As a result, not only do we expect to decrease unemployment among Bay Area residents impacted by mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or HIV/AIDS and to expedite treatment program exits making room for more people to access needed treatment services, Lift UP SF will develop a diverse, representative pool of qualified, culturally competent staff to help alleviate the worker shortage in behavioral health settings across San Francisco and beyond. PRC’s program launches with more than 17 partners—from Castro Country Club and the City of San Francisco Community Behavioral Health Services to Native American Health Center, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, and Alameda and Contra Costa County Behavioral Health Programs—already signed on and seeking to fill already identified peer staffing shortages across public mental health services.

Want to know more? Contact our Workforce Development team.
Want to contribute to support innovate solutions, like Lift UP SF? Donate here.
Keep Reading the Fall 2019 Frontline

Welcome to the Bare Chest Calendar Club

Did you know?

  • The Bare Chest Calendar has been around for 36 years
  • It has featured over 400 Calendar Men
  • And in that time, it has raised over $2,000,000!

You were likely a part of those successes at some point.

  • You may have supported a friend who was running for the Calendar.
  • You may have bought a few (or many) raffle tickets from a contestant.
  • You may have bought various “items” at auctions to support the Calendar.
  • You may have bought a Calendar (or two) and feasted on 12 months of Calendar Men!


Your support of the Bare Chest Calendar, Team BCC, PRC and our clients means so much to us that we have a surprise we think you’ll really like…

The Bare Chest Calendar Club

Sign up today. The Bare Chest Calendar Club is:

  • A new way that you can stay involved with the Bare Chest Calendar, the current Calendar Men, and our esteemed Calendar Alumni.
  • A monthly giving membership that gives you exclusive Bare Chest Calendar content not available to anyone outside the club.
  • A way to support the mission of PRC and our clients who are some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable citizens.

When you join the Bare Chest Calendar Club you make a monthly investment in supporting PRC’s clients and continue to strengthen the legacy of the Bare Chest Calendar!

This Club has Benefits.

Depending on which monthly giving level you join, your Club membership provides you with exclusive Bare Chest Calendar content.

Everyone who joins the Bare Chest Calendar Club, at any level, will receive:
  • A copy of the Bare Chest Calendar for the year following your membership date
  • A monthly email featuring an alternative image of the current month’s Bare Chest Calendar Man AND a picture of a Bare Chest Calendar Man from the past; and 
  • You can be on the Calendar, and you don’t have to bare your chest! Your name will appear on one of the pages of the next printed Bare Chest Calendar following the date you join the club.


Monthly Giving Levels range from $15 to $100 per month.  Read on for details.
  • Personalized birthday video and eBirthday card featuring Calendar Men
  • 2 tickets to Bare Chest Calendar Finals occurring after your join date
  • Bolded name on calendar page in next print Calendar following membership join date
  • Monthly email featuring alternate images from current Calendar AND previous Calendar
  • Monthly newsletter with Calendar updates and additional content from Calendar Men
  • Bare Chest Calendar for the year following join date
  • eBirthday card featuring Calendar Men
  • 2 tickets to Bare Chest Calendar Finals occurring after your join date
  • Bolded name on calendar page in next print Calendar following membership join date
  • Monthly email featuring alternate images from current Calendar AND previous Calendar
  • Monthly newsletter with Calendar updates and additional content from Calendar Men
  • Bare Chest Calendar for the year following join date
  • eBirthday card featuring Calendar Men
  • 1 ticket to Bare Chest Calendar Finals occurring after your join date
  • Name on Calendar page in next print Calendar following membership join date
  • Monthly email featuring alternate images from current Calendar AND previous Calendar
  • Monthly newsletter with Calendar updates and additional content from Calendar Men
  • Bare Chest Calendar for the year following join date
  • 1 ticket to Bare Chest Calendar Finals occurring after your join date
  • Name on Calendar page in next print Calendar following membership join date
  • Monthly email featuring alternate images from current Calendar AND previous Calendar
  • Monthly newsletter with Calendar updates and additional content from Calendar Men
  • Bare Chest Calendar for the year following join date
  • Name on Calendar page in next print Calendar following membership join date
  • Monthly email featuring alternate images from current Calendar AND previous Calendar
  • Monthly newsletter with Calendar updates and additional content from Calendar Men
  • Bare Chest Calendar for the year following join date

Open enrollment to join the Bare Chest Calendar Club ends on 10/31/2019, Halloween, so join the Club now to secure your spot!

AND everyone who joins before the end of open enrollment on 10/31/2019 will be included in a raffle to win 2 VIP tickets to the 2020 Big Muscle Party during Up Your Alley weekend!

Join the Bare Chest Calendar Club Now! 

It’s a Wrap!

Our hearts are full, and our doors are open! With your generosity, PRC’s Chair the Love campaign raised $36,310.



We are grateful. Time and again you show up for PRC and our clients.

Through Chair the Love, you helped furnish our clients’ experience during their journey toward better health, stable housing, and income growth within PRC’s new Integrated Service Center. Every step of the way, from their inital Client Services meeting through planning their next steps with an Employment Specialist, your support helps the over 5,000 adults living with HIV/AIDS, mental health, and substance use issues on their path to wellness each year.

But that’s not the end.


PRC has always been about community. Stay tuned for neighborhood and training events hosted at our community hub at 170 9th Street. Get updates: sign up for our newsletter and blogs, and follow us on social media for updates.

Together, we are changing lives and building community.


I am an avid supporter of PRC. Here’s why.

As much as I can define myself as a happily married man, an engaged member of the San Francisco design community and an endlessly curious student of the human condition, I also would like to think that I am a responsible citizen of The City where I have lived for over 40 years.

Like many of us, I am seriously concerned about the problems that are facing our town right now. I believe that our city government is sincere in wrestling with these challenges but government can’t do it alone. Nor should they be expected to. That’s why I support PRC.

Starting with the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s, PRC learned that action is more important than words in making a difference in a person’s life. And in many cases, saving a person’s life. These were hard learned lessons but they did it with a no-nonsense approach tempered with compassion.

I love that they have now expanded that commitment to the issues of people who are also struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and having a healthy sense of their own self-worth. Regardless of how they define themselves. And PRC is doing this every day. They are not waiting for anyone’s permission or approval to do what they know has to be done. That is what makes real heroes and heroines.

I am thrilled that from their new Integrated Service Center, they will now serve our community with greater impact. I support PRC, and was happy to support them financially to underwrite the furnishings in this unique facility through their Chair the Love campaign. I invite everyone reading this to do the same. As responsible citizens we owe it to our City, ourselves and all those folks who need our help.


Tom DiRenzo

A&D Director, CRI