Getting the Homeless Back on Their Feet


Homelessness is a serious problem, one that the Bay Area knows all too well. Understanding its physical, societal, and emotional obstacles is difficult, one that access to showers or housing alone cannot solve. One organization, Back on My Feet, takes a unique approach to homelessness, using physical endurance as a way to build self-esteem and encourage lasting change.

Back on My Feet is a national organization with chapters in 12 major cities, including San Francisco. They recruit people from homeless and residential facilities to commit to running three mornings a week, where they are joined by other homeless members and volunteers. Those that achieve 90 percent attendance after 30 days move into Next Steps, which includes educational support, financial literacy training, employment and housing resources. Members who gain employment and housing become Alumni Members.

Running is the stimulus. It helps restore confidence and self-esteem, which they need to tackle the bigger challenges that lie ahead. Since launching in 2007, 6,000 members have run 500,000 miles and obtained 4,000 jobs and homes. By putting one foot in front of the other, Back on My Feet empowers homeless members to achieve what once seemed impossible.