How We Got Here
The idea for Baker Places can be directly traced back to many of the social movements of the early 1960’s. Against the backdrop of the civil rights and free speech movements there was an increasing sense of urgency emphasizing the rights and freedoms of all individuals and their own possibilities. Eventually this same lens was applied to the mentally ill, many of whom had been cast aside and forgotten, boarded in large institutional settings where social control trumped real treatment. Not all institutions functioned in this manner but too often it was the default choice for many people who could have thrived in a more intimate and engaging setting. It was at this juncture that Baker Places was born.
In 1964, with seed money from Glide Memorial Methodist Church, a group of San Francisco residents purchased a Victorian home on Baker Street in a modest residential neighborhood. Volunteers, who also lived at the house with the clients, shared in the running of the program. Meals were planned, food was purchased and community meals were served with everyone in attendance. Through these activities, as well as individual and small group meetings, the residents were able to more fully participate in directing their goals for the future. They began to feel useful again, rejoining the community of people simply going about the business of living their lives.
This approach toward treatment became known as Social Rehabilitation, which continues to inform and guide the principles and values of the Agency today. Social rehabilitation is as much a philosophy as it is a treatment style and was also shared by a number of community based agencies in San Francisco during this particularly unique period in our history.
In 1969, Baker Places Inc. incorporated as a tax-exempt non-profit organization. We were among the first agencies to respond to the California de-institutionalization movement by providing residential treatment services for mentally ill adults recently discharged from Napa State Hospital enabling them to return to their communities of origin. The Baker Places Board of Directors still includes a member of the original founders, Nick Lederer, who serves as Board Chair.
Five decades later Baker Places has expanded to become a comprehensive system of care within the San Francisco community. Its services run the spectrum from crisis residential treatment for individuals challenged by co-occurring mental health and addiction issues all the way to peer supported permanent housing. We remain the only agency with equal footing in licensed residential treatment programs in both the mental health and substance abuse sectors.. Baker Places diverse staff serves an equally diverse population in terms of ethnicity, cultural background, and diagnosis. Today Baker Places operates 9 state licensed programs across San Francisco.
The Agency also provides case management and housing services to approximately 160 clients living in five to six person flats across the City. Thus many of our residents are able to live in safe and conventional neighborhoods upon leaving our treatment programs.
How We Are Funded
Baker Places receives its funding through the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Baker Places is a California 501c3 and accepts private donations which are tax deductable. In order to make a donation contact Jonathan Vernick at 415 864 4655 or email@example.com