Ending unsheltered homelessness CAN be done

“For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will move mountains.” – Matthew 17: 20-21

DignityMoves decided to take every barrier and find a way to capitalize on it.

We have sent men to the moon and decoded the human genome. If we can’t figure out how to get roofs over peoples’ heads we just aren’t trying hard enough.
Instilling Optimism

DignityMoves is dedicated to finding innovative ways to bring people indoors and off of our streets in rapid and cost-effective ways that are therefore scalable. After our first full year of operations and building over 165 rooms with hundreds more in development, we have come to understand that the housing itself is only a small aspect of the value we are bringing to the homelessness situation.  Perhaps even more valuable is the renewed sense of optimism we’re inspiring.

People seem to have given up hope that the homelessness crisis can be solved. We are changing that! We are demonstrating that we CAN get roofs over people’s heads. We just need to attack this problem with new thinking, innovation, and determination.

Complacency Busters

A growing and increasingly entrenched homelessness problem in the state of California has fueled a related, collective sense of complacency at all levels, from government down through nonprofits, neighborhoods, and individuals. Despite many programs, billions in spending, and a herculean effort to build permanent supportive housing, the number of homeless individuals in the state has ballooned. DignityMoves has not been content to accept the status quo, instead emerging as complacency busters who demonstrate through action that this crisis can not only be mitigated, but solved.

Disrupting the status quo

We are bringing our disruptive thinking to stale systems. We are asking hard questions, challenging the status quo, and shaking things up in a big way. We serve as a bridge that spans the best of for-profit and nonprofit worlds. We combine the can-do attitude of the corporate world with the social-benefit heart of the nonprofit sector. We take a leadership role that helps unite partners from widely divergent sectors. As a relative newcomer and outsider with bold ideas, our presence has shaken up the status quo.

Changing the narrative

Demonstrating this model to cities: Construction of the San Francisco “pilot’ was fully funded by philanthropy as a pilot to demonstrate to the city; its now taken hold and San Francisco is replicating. We have adopted an innovative model that blends private and public funding together, allowing us to fill gaps in funding with unrestricted funding, rapid-response funding, and funds that can be put to work immediately, while institutional and government funding are pending.

Info Box

Did You Know ?

San Francisco is now planning a second cabin community just like 33 Gough.

Rafael Mandelman announced A Place for All on the front steps of 33 Gough just a few weeks after our grand opening.

Reaching scale through national replication

Our National Replication program is working to empower communities far and wide to build DignityMoves type communities.  Because we have demonstrated that our model works in several successful locations, we can bring this model to locations outside of the state of California. This model provides a winning formula that can empower communities across the country to replicate these successes where they are located.

Open source playbook

We operate in the spirit of openness and collaboration. We want to disseminate our learning and methods far and wide and do so through meetings, blogs, white papers, our social media, and in direct consultation with government agencies and interested organizations.

Our Influence in Action

What is the Place for All Ordinance?

The Place for All Ordinance, introduced by Supervisors Rafael Mandelman and Sandra Lee Fewer and announced at the steps of our first community 33 Gough, would require the City to create a network of temporary Safe Sleeping Sites with enough capacity to ensure that on any given night in San Francisco any unhoused person for whom the City cannot provide a supportive housing unit, shelter bed, or hotel room can be offered aplacement at a Safe Sleeping Site. Within 60 days of passage, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing would be required to prepare and present an Implementation Plan tocreate 500 additional safe sleeping site placements within nine months and enough placements to accommodate all unsheltered people in San Francisco within nine months after that. The City Controller will be required to prepare an annual report evaluating the program.


DignityNOW is a bold new strategy for ending unsheltered homelessness in a community with one bold, comprehensive campaign. Building one shelter at a time is progress, but merely chips away at the problem. We partner with cities and counties to determine the entire unsheltered homelessness need in a community, identify underutilized land for interim use, and solve for it in one initiative.

The first DignityNOW initiative is underway in Santa Barbara County. In January 2023 the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the updated Community Action Plan which calls for the development of several DignityMoves villages totaling approximately 437 beds, more than closing the existing shelter gap of 432 beds county-wide.


Interested in Getting Involved?