“Of all the innovations that have come out of Palo Alto, I think we should be most proud of the Downtown Streets Team” - Councilman Greg Schmid, Palo Alto
The Palo Alto Team operates in downtown Palo Alto 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. The team reaches out to the homeless living in our focus areas along with carrying out a variety of tasks, including:
Security and cleaning of parking garages
Cleaning and lining soccer fields
Sweeping downtown streets
Downtown Food Closet
The Downtown Food Closet provides essential food to homeless and low-income individuals of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto. The hours for the food closet are Mon-Fri, 10am-2:30pm, and Saturdays from 9am-1pm.
On average, 65 individuals access the Food Closet per day. Over 880 pounds of food are distributed to Food Closet clients each week.
Elizabeth F. Gamble Gardens
DST Team Members receive horticulture training in the garden including harvesting, planting, and watering of a two acre property. All the produce gathered will be transported at the end of the volunteer shifts to the Downtown Food Closet in a full-circle community effort to feed those in need.
Downtown Palo Alto
The team reaches out to the homeless living in our focus areas in addition to carrying out a variety of tasks. Tasks include: street cleaning, security and cleaning of parking garages, and cleaning and lining of soccer fields.
We work closely with the Palo Alto Police Department, especially former Police Chief Burns. Hear what he has to say about our program and its impact on downtown Palo Alto.
Downtown Streets Team was founded in 2005 by the Palo Alto Business Improvement District as the solution to the two major concerns that were plaguing the downtown area: panhandling and trash accumulation. Once the issues were identified, a work-first model was developed, in which the unhoused men and women in the community could volunteer up to 20 hours per week in exchange for case management and employment services. Thus, Downtown Streets Team was born.
The Team started out quite small, with $25,000, four Team Members, and only one staffer (our Executive Director, Eileen Richardson). Since then, the Palo Alto Team has grown immensely with over 171 moved into housing and a massive reduction in the homeless population.
Join the Team
To join our team, prospective volunteers must attend our Weekly Success Team Meetings every Thursday. Once a space opens, they are invited to accept the shift and join the Team.