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In 2004, a team of hard working volunteers helped remodel the Valencia Street Community Center.
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In 1982, San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein asked San Francisco Churches to open their doors to refugees fleeing war and famine in Central America. Dolores Street Baptist Church, at that time located on the corner of 15th and Dolores Streets, was the first to answer the call and founded a "church basement" operation providing basic services of shelter and housing (the Dolores Housing Program, now Dolores Shelter Program).

Over the next 10 years, this program continued to serve as the primary provider of shelter to San Francisco’s Latino homeless working poor. In 1993, when the church was destroyed in a fire, both the church and the shelter were moved to new facilities, but continued to provide shelter and services to the Latino community of the Mission District.

Beginning in the early 1990’s, church members began to explore how they could also help address the needs of the other community it bordered — San Francisco’s Castro District. At that time, one of the primary issues affecting Castro residents was the crisis of HIV and AIDS, and church members identified housing as one of the primary needs of those who had become infected.

In 1995, with the support of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Dolores Street Community Services renovated an old Victorian cottage on Dolores Street and opened the doors to Hope House, a place for homeless men and women living with AIDS to spend their last days in dignity and peace. Hope House was later renamed the Richard M. Cohen Residence in honor of a local realtor and community member who died of AIDS, and whose estate provided a significant portion of the funds for the renovation.

As the decade ended, the programs separated from their founding church, becoming a fully independent non-sectarian non-profit organization.

The programs are currently administered out of the main office on Valencia Street, and the capacity of the Dolores Shelter Program has expanded to 100 beds.  The Cohen House has transformed from its first incarnation as a hospice, and is now a widely recognized residential care facility for people living with disabling HIV or AIDS.  Over time, the organization has also developed the large office and meeting space at its main office into the Valencia Community Center program, providing an important resource for neighborhood organizations and community groups.


Dolores Street Community Services, 938 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-282-6209, info(AT)