Tag Archives: housing

What the Guardian Group Doesn’t Do

Keith Haring Sculpture on the grounds of the de Young Museum

Keith Haring Sculpture on the grounds of the de Young Museum photographed during a visit there with a Guardian Group client.

On this website we have tried to describe the help we can offer LGBTI newcomers to the San Francisco area.  We haven’t attempted to list all the things which our group of volunteers doesn’t do. We thought people would understand that if an action was on our list, then we didn’t do it!

Unfortunately, many LGBTI people throughout the world are desperate.  They contact us hoping we can help with some very real, huge, pressing needs, even though the help they are seeking isn’t something we’ve said we do.

When we hear of these awful, intense needs, we can only offer encouragement and love.  We are not trying to be cruel or selfish, but our group and our church community has limited resources.  We have to do what we can and not pretend to have more resources to share than we do.

Even our clients frequently ask for more help than we can provide.  These requests are the emotionally most difficult.  We know and care for the people who are asking for things we cannot provide.  It’s tough on them and tough on us.

To avoid raising any false hopes, let me explain what our Guardian Group cannot do.

  • We cannot help anyone get into the United States or out of their country into a third-party nation where they can apply to the UN for refugee status.  We have no experience and no insight in this process.  We suggest exploring what the UN-HCR suggests.  We also refer people to the Organization for Refuge Asyluym and Migration (ORAM) .  ORAM has helped several people who eventually became our clients get official refugee status and apply to US for entry while they were in in places like Turkey and South Africa.
  • We have no housing for refugees or asylum seekers.  We help clients look for housing when they need a place to stay, but we have no shelter to offer ourselves.  To be honest, it is very, very, very difficult to find affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay area.  Some of our clients have moved every month until they have been able find a job and rent their own space… and then they generally have roommates.
  • We have no jobs or employment to offer.  We help our clients find job training.  We help them write their resumes and job applications.  However, we don’t employ anyone!
  • We do not provide significant financial assistance to our clients.  The Guardian Group helps newcomers understand the bureaucratic and social complexities of the United States, California, and the San Francisco area.  We provide friendship, advice, and a non-anxious presence. On a practical level, we can help our clients apply for state and city medical coverage, for assistance with food, for disability income, and for general welfare assistance.  However, most able-bodied clients will not qualify for public assistance after their initial 8-month refugee resettlement stipend. In addition, publicly-funded programs do not provide a comfortable level of financial security — newcomers are expected to support themselves by working.

The Guardian Group was established to provide emotional support and personal guidance on how to navigate American culture.   We are not a source for welfare.  Our volunteer group and its supporting religious community do not have the money to provide routine financial assistance.

We have provided some financial assistance to refugees when they have faced some extraordinary expenses in their first few months in San Francisco.  However, we do not have the money to financially assist anyone on an ongoing basis.  Our clients need to rely on jobs, education loans, or scholarships for their needs… mostly jobs!

Gay Pride Flag

Happy Pride! and PLEASE Help Us Find Housing!

Our 31-year-old gay Tunisian asylum seeker needs a place to stay starting about July 4th.
Please help!

As you talk to people at the Parade, at parties, and at worship services, please mention that we are looking for housing.

We need a room with access to shared bathing and cooking facilities. Ideally the housing would be in San Francisco and have the potential to extend if the host and asylum seeker are compatible.

Anyone talking today with empty nesters? Retirees with now-unused home office space? Simply generous individuals?

This is a day of celebration and fun! Let’s have a great time. And, please don’t be bashful about mentioning our urgent need for shelter.

This website, www.RefugeeGuardianGroup.org, is a good place to point people to, and, of course, I would be happy to give any additional details.

My office number is 415.647.8830 and my email address is [email protected].

Thank you… and have a Supremely Happy Day!

— Galen

New Page About Housing Added

We spent a lot of time and energy worrying about housing for our refugees.

It is extremely difficult to find appropriate, affordable places for our clients in San Francisco or even in nearby towns!

Today we added a page to this website dedicated to the issue of housing. What are we looking for? What are the common challenges?

Please check out our housing page.  Let us know if you can help.  If you cannot provide housing yourself, please share the page with your friends by email, Facebook, Twitter… everywhere.

A Refugee Would Like to Live in San Francisco

This week we were contacted by the Jewish Family and Children Services of the East Bay asking if we could support another refugee, if they can find housing for him in the City of San Francisco.

The man is coming from Africa (the Congo?) in a couple weeks, and has expressed a desire to live in San Francisco.

Our folks are happy to welcome this new person, take him to Social Security and the other offices.

The big question is can we find housing?  If you know of any space available for 8 months for minimal rent ($200 or $250/month), please contact us!

We would very much like to help another refugee now!

New Refugee Arrives June 12th

Map of Africa with the Congo HighlightedTuesday afternoon the Jewish Family and Child Services of the East Bay received notification that a 23-year-old gay man from the Congo would arrive in the San Francisco Bay area on June 12th.

The Guardian Group is looking for a space to rent in San Francisco for him starting June 12th.

The refugee speaks five languages including French and some English. He has worked as a musician, a basketball player, and a barber.

The man will have approximately $200 a month to spend on rent as part the 8-month’s of support provided by the government. He will also be legally able to work as soon as he arrives, and he will be able to apply for citizenship in five years.

If the Guardian Group cannot find San Francisco housing for this man, he will be housed in the East Bay and receive only ad hoc support from other volunteers in the East Bay.  In our experience it is much better for gay refugees to live in the City of San Francisco, so we are very interested in finding housing.

If you can rent space in your house or know of other space available, please contact the Guardian Group.