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Delancey Street

One of us is working on developing a program for helping formerly incarcerated people rejoin society. He looked for the best programs in America for ideas, discovered Delancey Street, and wrote the following summary from material on their website. Another of us (Terry Flood from the Church of the Saviour and Jubilee Jobs) visited Delancey Street in May and is working to see how to put to use what she discovered. Hopefully she'll soon add her notes to what we are discovering.

Highlights of Delancey Street, San Francisco

Delancey Street, San Francisco, is one of the country's most successful social enterprises. Started in San Francisco 35 years ago, this unique model now has five centers throughout the country, which have graduated more than 14,000 men and women into successful lives. This model empowers the people with the problem to be the solution. The Centers have no paid staff and no government funding. They use the "each-one-teach-one" principle, where older residents help newer ones and everyone works. (The information below is excerpted from
  1. Residential education employment community for people who have hit bottom.
  2. A model of social entrepreneurship, education, rehabilitation, and change.
  3. Average resident is illiterate, unskilled, and has not held a job for as much as six months.
  4. The biggest issue for residents is a sense of despair from repeated failure.
  5. This leads to a poverty of spirit, values, and belief.
  6. Activities we provide turn lives completely around.
  7. All residents receive at least a high-school equivalency degree.
  8. All are trained in three marketable skills before graduating.
    1. One manual, one clerical/computer, one interpersonal sales skill.
  9. There is no cost to the taxpayer or the client.
  10. This is an educational rather than therapeutic model.
  11. Uses the "each-one-teach-one" principle.
    1. Older residents help newer ones. Everyone works.
    2. A reader at the tenth grade level tutors a reader at the eighth grade level, who tutors a reader at the fourth grade level, who tutors someone learning the alphabet.
  12. Vocational training schools are managed and taught by residents.
    1. 15 current vocational programs are listed below and on the Delancey Street website.
  13. Residents volunteer in the community helping others less fortunate with service programs for the elderly, handicapped, at-risk youths and others.
  14. Delancey Street was its own general contractor for its 400,000 square foot complex with retail stores, restaurant, housing units for 500, and educational and recreation facilities for residents.
  15. The reconstruction was an unprecedented vocational training program for 300 previously unemployable drug addicts, homeless people and ex-felons.
  16. Dr. Karl Menninger conducted a study on graduates indicating a 98% success rate.
  17. He called it "…the best and most successful rehabilitation program I have studied in the world."
  18. "…the long term impact … is the broken cycle of poverty, drugs, violence and crime, and a new cycle of learning, caring, economic, personal and family stability…"
  19. More than 20 enterprises are run completely by formerly unskilled people using the each-one-teach-one principle.
  20. Delancey Street Foundation is a nonprofit corporation with two divisions:
    1. Residential Educational Communities has five communities (three are owned and two are independent corporations.)
    2. Delancey CIRCLE, a Coalition to Implement Revitalized Communities, Lives, and Economies that seeks coalitions with other agencies.
  21. Operating funds for the communities:
    1. 55%-65% from pooling incomes of resident-run training schools (e.g. moving, catering)
    2. 25%-35% from donations of products or services, primarily from corporations
    3. 5%-15% from financial donations from individuals and foundations
  22. Expenditures: 98.6% allocated to programs, 1.4% to administration and funding.
  23. Biggest obstacles and challenges:
    1. Intractability of the social problems
    2. Social attitudes toward the target population
    3. "Constituents" sense of learned helplessness … defined by despair. "They need to develop not only skills and new behaviors, they need hope."
    4. "the model … provides its own obstacles and challenges." We "rely on the people with the social problems to be the solution to those problems."
    5. "And because our residents graduate once they have gained the attitudes, values, skills talents and strengths they need, we are always relying on new people to keep the organization going."
  24. Some community services provided by Delancey Street:
    1. Used former thieves to teach business owners how to protect their merchandise
    2. Spoke at schools to do drug and crime and violence prevention
  25. Enterprises provide about 60% of community income and include the following:
    1. Crossroads Caf´, Bookstore & Art Gallery
    2. Catering & Event Planning
    3. Delancey Coach (Corporate Private Car Service)
    4. Digital Print Shop
    5. Handcrafted Furniture, Ironworks, Plants & Glass, Ceramics
    6. Landscaping
    7. Moving and Trucking
    8. Paratransit Van & Bus Services
    9. Restaurant
    10. Screening Room
    11. Specialty Advertising Sales
    12. Christmas Tree Sales and Decorating
  26. "Some … training schools do not earn income but are central to the basic operation of the organization, for example, accounting, automotive and construction.
  27. Current vocational programs include:
    1. accounting and bookkeeping
    2. automotive & truck mechanical repair and painting
    3. Christmas tree sales and commercial decorating
    4. coach & paratransit transportation services
    5. coffeehouse, art gallery & bookstore
    6. construction and property management
    7. digital printing and banners, silk-screen, and framing
    8. film screening
    9. handcrafted wood, terrarium, iron works and furniture
    10. moving and trucking
    11. retail and advertising specialties sales
    12. restaurant, catering, event and wedding planning
    13. upholstery/sewing
    14. warehousing
    15. welding
  28. "Our Automotive Department provides complete instruction in basic auto mechanics, oil changes, tire changes, tune-ups, routine general maintenance and complete engine repairs." It "services over 100 vehicles at any given time."
  29. Typical activities of graduates:
    1. "Over 1,000 graduates work in the building trades."
    2. Since residents maintain the financial records, many have become bookkeepers, accountants and CPAs.
  30. To extend its success, Delancey has supported numerous adaptations of its model. "By selecting these different approaches in diverse parts of the country, we hope to see which aspects of the Delancey model are adaptable and whether replications need to fully and completely utilize the Delancey model or whether parts of it can be adapted in different ways."
  31. Delancey's CIRCLE Division has sent as many as 15 residents to live and work and help startup a new location for the model. Of the five locations, three are owned by Delancey and two are separate corporations.

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