St. Anthony Foundation and civic and nonprofit partners announce grand re-opening of Kaplan Family Oasis Shelter

“We’re here to celebrate what is right and good about our world and San Francisco” — Nils Behnke, CEO of St. Anthony Foundation

St. Anthony Foundation, in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Providence Foundation of San Francisco, and the Kaplan Family marked the joint grand reopening of the Kaplan Family Oasis Shelter on Oct. 25. Mayor London Breed took part in the dedication.

The 59-unit shelter, formerly the Oasis Inn, is in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. The motel temporarily housed homeless women and children, including domestic violence survivors during the pandemic, and was on the brink of shuttering when St. Anthony’s stepped up, agreeing to purchase the facility. A major gift from the Kaplan Family Trust was the cornerstone that launched the project.

“How everyone came together to make this project possible was extraordinary,” said Mayor Breed, who thanked the Kaplan family for their generosity. “We would not be here were it not for the Lord putting this project on their hearts through St. Anthony’s to make this possible. This is how God works.”

Providence Foundation will continue to operate the shelter and provide case management services, and St. Anthony’s will offer supplemental services to help families gain stability and self-sufficiency.

“We’re here to celebrate what is right and good about our world and San Francisco,” said Nils Behnke, CEO of St. Anthony Foundation.  “We’re also here today because we’re on a mission from God,” he said. “This mission is not only to support those who are most vulnerable and in need of our help, but also to help them sustainably find a way out of the cycle of poverty, homelessness and abuse that too many people have experienced literally for generations.”

Women experience homelessness very differently than men, according to Juliana Terheyden, director of Strategic Projects for the St. Anthony Foundation. In San Francisco, an estimated 6,000 women experienced homelessness over the past year – nearly 40% of the total unhoused population. And 80% of unsheltered women surveyed across the country reported abuse and/or trauma as the cause of their homelessness.

Families staying at the Oasis Inn will have access to St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic, including primary and specialty medical care, behavioral health and pediatric services. Free clothing will be available through the St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program.

Access to St. Anthony’s Tech Lab will help women with job training, job opportunities, and free computer literacy classes. Families will be mentored by the Companionship Program, which provides a peer advisor with lived experience with homelessness or domestic abuse to help women develop critical life-management skills.

Former Oasis guest and mom Ladaysha Atkins, who has since found permanent housing for her family, offered her testimony at the dedication.

“Without your work, I was not sure what would happen, where I’d go, and what the future would hold after losing my son and becoming homeless,” she said. “Now I have hope that I can do anything to support my family.”

Edited by Catholic San Francisco from a press release by St. Anthony Foundation. Photos courtesy of St. Anthony Foundation.

Cover photo: A look at the courtyard of the 59-unit Kaplan Family Oasis Shelter in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood