San Francisco Comes Together to Help Survivors of the Mission Fire

January 30, 2015
Laine Hendricks | | (415) 553-3524

San Francisco Comes Together to Help Survivors of the Mission Fire

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: (January 30, 2015) At 6:30 p.m. this evening the City and County of San Francisco, The Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross will open a temporary emergency shelter to help the survivors of this week’s 4-Alarm Mission Fire.  Sixty-seven San Franciscans including 15 children lost their homes and all of their belongings.

“The devastating Mission Street fire tragically took a life, destroyed many homes and small businesses,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “We are working closely to rapidly rehouse displaced residents and support small businesses as they recover.  Confronted with the challenge of rebuilding their lives, we will continue to support them.  We call on neighbors, friends and partners to assist the families and small businesses to help them recover from this tragedy.”

The temporary shelter located The Salvation Army’s Mission Corps Community Center at 1156 Valencia Street will serve as a place where survivors can stay until housing can be found for them.  At 10:00 a.m. Saturday, the American Red Cross will open a Service Center at the shelter, where survivors can meet one-on-one with Red Cross case workers to assess their situation, create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help. Other agencies and non-profits will be available on site to meet with residents to determine their housing and resource needs.  San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) will work to facilitate mid-to-long term housing matches.

“The Salvation Army, in partnership with the Red Cross, will provide the Mission Fire survivors with both shelter and a place of respite within their own neighborhood,” said John McKnight, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army’s Golden State Division. “The Salvation Army Mission Corps has been a part of the Mission neighborhood for over 90 years and it’s our privilege to serve alongside the City of San Francisco, its residents and partner agencies to help rebuild the lives of those affected by this tragedy.”

The best way to help fire survivors and rescue workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors. The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army have established mechanisms to accept donations.  At this point, in-kind donations are not being accepted.  Used clothing and used furniture are seldom required during an incident. While well intentioned, in-kind donations such as clothing, furniture, and food can hinder the response effort.

“Financial donations allow us and our partners to be flexible in the help we provide and ensure that we can give our diverse communities the help that is most appropriate for their needs,” said Mark Cloutier, Regional Chief Executive Officer of American Red Cross. “We appreciate the offers to provide clothing, food, and other materials but each disaster is unique and so are the needs of its victims. It takes time and money to sort and distribute donated items whereas financial donations can be accessed quickly and put to use right away.”

A number of business owners were also affected by the Mission Fire. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development  will be at the Mission Police Station Community room on Friday from 10:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.  assisting businesses with filling out disaster declaration forms so that an application can be made to the State of California  as part of Small Business Administration approval requirements.  Staff will be available to answer questions from business owners and outplaced employees that were impacted by the fire. For direct assistance, businesses can contact Francis Chan at (415) 816-3816. For outplaced employees, contact Carmelo San-Mames at (415) 701-4848. Or visit to learn more about available resources and services.

“In an event like this, where the needs of the displaced resident are so great, they are best served when all of the responding agencies are coordinated. A response like this would easily challenge the resources of one agency, and the services required need to come from various programs. Only through a coordinated effort can all of the multiple resources be brought to bear, and that is the role of the San Francisco Human Services Agency,” said Benjamin Amyes, HSA Disaster Response Manager. ‘Our role is to be sure that all of the needs are met as efficiently as possible by bringing together all of the responders and directing the residents to the services that best fit their needs.”

How to Help:

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services program provides a number of services to meet the needs of each unique disaster, whether a house fire or major earthquake.  Some of these services include food service, shelter, donations management, emotional care, and disaster case management. Salvation Army assistance is free, funded entirely by donors, and is provided to disaster survivors without discrimination. The Salvation Army uses 100 percent of all disaster donations in support of disaster relief operations. To help, please visit or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and mention "The San Francisco Mission Fire" when you give.

While the Salvation Army is not accepting in-kind donations for survivors of the Mission Fire, gifts of gently-used household goods, clothing, etc., support the day-to-day work of the Salvation Army in the community. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Thrift Store.

American Red Cross
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. Help people affected by disasters like the Mission Fire and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

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Media Contacts:
Laine Hendricks, Salvation Army, 415-359-4508,
Pamela Tebo, Human Services Agency, 415-557-5940,
Cynthia Shaw, American Red Cross, 408-666-6857,



About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index ( The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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