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Welcome to the Delancey Street Web Site

At our site we hope to show you a little about our model, our successes and our struggles. We’re considered the country's leading residential self-help organization for substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. Our average resident has been a hard-core drug addict for sixteen years, abusing alcohol and multiple drugs and has dropped out of school at the 7th grade and has been institutionalized several times. Many have been gang members; most have been trapped in poverty for several generations. Rather than hire experts to help the people with problems, we decided to run Delancey Street with no staff and no funding. Like a large family, our residents must learn to develop their strengths and help each other. It’s an approach to changing lives that is “against all odds”.

We said we were going to take ex-convicts and ex-addicts and teach them to be teachers, general contractors, and truck drivers. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to take 250 people who had never worked and had no skills and teach them to build a 400,000 square foot complex as our new home on the waterfront. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to partner with colleges and get people who started out functionally illiterate to achieve bachelor of arts degrees. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to run successful restaurants, moving companies, furniture making, and cafés and bookstores without any professional help. They said it couldn’t be done. We said we were going to do all this with no staff, no government funding, and no professionals. They laughed and said it couldn’t be done.

We struggle a lot but we’ve been doing it. For over 40 years we’ve been developing a model of social entrepreneurship, of education, of rehabilitation and change that is exciting and full of hope. If you need help, or want to help, please contact us. Most of all, we hope you can feel as inspired by ordinary people’s abilities to achieve extraordinary accomplishments as we’ve been.




Related Media

“It's the Place for Second Chances” (San Francisco Chronicle, 9/11/11)
“For 40 Years, an Advocate for the Underclass (The Wall Street Journal, 9/8/11)
“Delancey Street rejoices” (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/1/02)
“Serving Time” (West Magazine, 9/17/06)
“Hitting Bottom Can Be The Beginning” (Parade, 3/15/92)
Delancey Street on the Jane Pauley Show (NBC) (1/05 - Quicktime)
“The Power of Mimi” on 20/20 (ABC) (12/89 - Quicktime)

Delancey Street Embarcadero Aerial Photo

Christmas Tree Lots Now Open

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Amnesty & Her Mummy

My name is Amnesty pictured here with my mom, Mimi Silbert, Delancey Street’s President and CEO. I am Delancey Street’s dog, rescued like so many of the other residents here after much abuse. I would like to welcome you to the Delancey Street Foundation web site. If you love dogs, click here to read more about me from a book I am in.

"Delancey Street is an incredible mixture of pure idealism and hard practicality. It is the best and the most successful organization I have studied in the world" —Dr. Karl Menninger
restaurant cafe moving Institute For Social Renewal