Downtown Streets Team is ending homelessness by restoring the dignity and rebuilding the lives of unhoused men and women.
Founded in 2005, Downtown Streets Team is now beautifying seven Bay Area communities: Hayward, Novato, Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael and Sunnyvale, with more on the way. We now serve over 750 unhoused men and women a year with almost 50 staff members and growing. Our goal is to end homelessness in our lifetime: one community at a time.
Downtown Streets Team is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our Tax ID is 20-5242330.
View our Annual Reports: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
View our Audited Financial Statements: 2015, 2016, 2017
Dignity Above All: We are a community that becomes greater than the sum of our parts by building a social movement that's dignified, authentic and celebratory.
Inclusive Collaboration: Staff, Volunteers, and Partners work on the same Team to support Team Members achieving their own success because we care about everyone finding their place at DST.
Personal + Professional Grit: We stay committed to action through uncertainty; we constantly incorporate improvements and innovations; and we prioritize taking care of ourselves and each other.
Whatever It Takes: We are not afraid of working whenever and wherever Team Members need us.
People First: We believe in the power of our shared humanity, determination, and resilience even in the face of insurmountable adversity.
Eileen Richardson takes a break from the tech industry, decides to pop into a food closet in Palo Alto to volunteer
The Business Improvement District (BID) in Palo Alto develops the idea that would become Downtown Streets Team (DST)
Eileen takes over the BID and launches DST’s first team with $45k and four Team Members
The Santa Clara County Point-In-Time Census counts 357 unhoused individuals in Palo Alto, a number which DST will help reduce 54% by 2013
DST grows beyond the BID and becomes a certified 501 (c) (3), the Team expands in Palo Alto
DST expands to new communities in California and Florida
Downtown Streets Team receives a $100,000 investment from the Peery Foundation
DST adds second employee , Chris Richardson (Eileen’s son) who would become Chief Program Officer in 2016
DST places in the Top 50 Innovations in American Government by Harvard’s Ash Institute
DST adds third employee, Elfreda Strydom, now Chief Operations Officer
DST is awarded the prestigious Tall Tree Award by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
The first work-experience Team focused on The Jungle encampment, the Clean Creeks Healthy Communities project, launches in San Jose
DST expands to it’s third Bay Area city: Sunnyvale
Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, and Jackson Browne perform at DST’s sold out benefit concert which raises over $380,000
DST bridges the bay and launches a team in San Rafael, the first team in Marin County
In an unprecedented move, the City of San Jose uses its general funds to support DST housing 100 people from the The Jungle, a number which DST will surpass within the first 18 months of the contract
DST takes over operations of the food closet at All Saints Church in Palo Alto and rebrands it as Downtown Food Closet
Over 300 Team Members reach employment and 300 find housing through DST
DST celebrates 10 years of ending homelessness in the Bay Area and looks towards the future
DST launches its first social enterprise: KARTMA Street Cafe
February, DST expands to a fifth Bay Area city: San Francisco
June, DST expands to a sixth Bay Area city: Hayward
August, DST expands to a seventh Bay Area city: Novato
January, our San Rafael Team wins the Heart of Marin award for Excellence in Innovation, from Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL)
October, DST expands to an eighth city: Santa Cruz
DST launches in Sacramento
DST is named one of only five Best Practices in CA in the League of CA Cities and CA State Association of Counties Homelessness Task Force report
Eileen Richardson began her career as a receptionist in Venture Capital. Despite being a single mom of two, she worked her way up the corporate ladder and eventually became a Partner at a Venture firm in Chicago. She spent about 10 years in Venture Capital before joining Napster, Inc. as CEO in 1999. She then took the helm at Infravio, Inc. until 2002 when she decided to take some time off to be with her family.
Eileen started volunteering with the local food closet on a whim and decided that ending homelessness was more important to her than stock options. She became the Executive Director and sole (unpaid) employee of Downtown Streets Team in 2005 and has since used her relationships with civic leaders, local businesses, tech/VC stakeholders, partnered non-profits and the homeless population to find a solution to homelessness. She launched the first four-man Team in Palo Alto herself in late 2005 and was the only employee until 2009. That same year she signed on as Executive Director of Peninsula Healthcare Connection (formerly Opportunity Health Partners) which acquired New Directions in 2013.