FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 6, 2019
Media Contact: Robbie Silver, Director of Marketing & Public Realm
*** PRESS RELEASE ***
Humanizing Homelessness in Union Square
Interactive “Phone Booth” to Re-Connect Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
San Francisco, CA – Anyone should be able to call and say “I love you” to a long-lost family member or friend, especially those living on the streets who need to hear it the most. While some of our homeless neighbors have reliable access to phones, most do not. On August 16th from 11 am to 5 pm, the Union Square Foundation is teaming up with Miracle Messages, a nonprofit that creates connections for individuals experiencing homelessness, the opportunity to re-connect with someone they miss through an interactive “Phone Booth.”
This event is proudly sponsored by AT&T. The activation will take place at the information kiosk on the corner of Market and Powell Streets near the Cable Car Turnaround. Through peer-to-peer outreach, formerly homeless individuals and other volunteers will reach out with a friendly face and a helping hand around the Union Square area. Volunteers will encourage people experiencing homelessness to come to the Phone Booth where the Union Square Foundation, Miracle Messages, and AT&T will provide access to a phone and will try to connect them with loved ones.
“Since the very beginning, AT&T has been about connecting people, and making a difference in our communities through that connection,” said Rhonda Johnson, President of AT&T California. “We’re thrilled to work with San Francisco nonprofits like the Union Square Foundation and Miracle Messages to make an impact together for folks experiencing homelessness. Sometimes a human connection can make all the difference,” said Johnson.
The Union Square Foundation hired Miracle Messages in October 2018 and their outreach efforts have resulted in ten reunions with family members. “It’s common to hear that someone in San Francisco has been living on the streets for over a two decades, says Kevin Adler, CEO/Founder of Miracle Messages. While not all interactions result in a recorded message or reunion, we are making substantial progress.” Miracle Messages aims to record “I miss you” videos, which supports the connection process by being shared online and in social media groups across the U.S.
The Union Square Foundation exists in part to provide compassionate outreach to vulnerable individuals by contracting with other local nonprofit organizations. “We have to continue engaging with the people living on our streets. It’s taken over 135 outreach hours to get this far and we still have a long way to go but these individuals are being re-connected, which is promising,” says Karin Flood, Executive Director of the Union Square Business Improvement District and Foundation.
Members of the media are invited to witness potential connections on August 16 from 11 am – 5 pm near the Cable Car Turnaround. Staff and volunteers will be on site for any interview opportunities.
About the Union Square Foundation: A 501c3 charitable organization working collaboratively with government partners and district stakeholders to shape the long-term vibrancy of the community with thoughtful public realm investment and homeless outreach services and workforce development opportunities. Tax ID #82-2194802. UnionSquareFoundation.org