Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2004

Janet Crane working on her mosaic paver at the 2004 OWA Retreat

Six Programs for Defeating Homelessness

Hamilton Family Center has been working to end homelessness since 1985, and offers care at every level. They are the largest provider of shelter and support services for homeless families in San Francisco, helping hundreds of families a year. Their programs include:

HAMILTON FAMILY EMERGENCY CENTER: Offers newly homeless families 24-hour access to emergency overnight shelter or a place to stay for 60 days. Provides basic services for up to 20 families a night that include a warm bed, three meals a day and crisis intervention counseling and support. We also offer on-site medical services.

HAMILTON FAMILY RESIDENCES: This is largest homeless family shelter in San Francisco, serving up to 40 families or 150 people per night. Offers up to six months of shelter while providing comprehensive support services that include case management, individual and group therapy, three meals a day, employment and life skills training, referrals, and assistance securing housing.

HAMILTON FAMILY TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM: Offers 20 families temporary housing in their own apartments and comprehensive support services for up to 18 months. The Transitional Program gives them time to identify and address the causes of their homelessness. Families improve budgeting, parenting, and other life skills while preparing for economic and housing stability.

HAMILTON FAMILY HOUSING AND AFTERCARE: Helps families meet their most fundamental need: securing permanent housing. Our staff works with families to clear eviction and credit problems, follow a savings plan, secure rental units, and access move-in grants. Families continue to benefit from services and support for a full year after they leave the shelter. Case managers make home visits, provide personal direction, and help families access local resources such as counseling, child care, health care, parenting classes, and support groups.

THE DUDLEY APARTMENTS: A 75-unit permanent supportive housing program created in partnership with Mercy Housing California. Hamilton Family Center offers onsite social services to formerly homeless families, and extremely low-income seniors and single adults living in the building. This permanent supportive housing program enables residents to stabilize their lives and address issues such as mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse, and physical disabilities. The Dudley Apartments is a crucial resource for chronically homeless families and individuals and offers them a permanent housing solution.

THE CHILDREN'S PROGRAM: Children's services are a crucial element of breaking the homelessness cycle, providing special care for the most vulnerable. We offer daily recreational and enrichment activities for children from birth to age 17 in a safe, supportive environment where homelessness carries no stigma. Children and their parents also have access to a mental health therapist who is available to meet with them individually and help them learn strategies to cope with the problems they face. The therapist also hosts a number of support groups including a women's empowerment meeting, parent and infant play therapy sessions, and a parent support group.

1631 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

Holiday Benefit Party

DATE: Tuesday 14 December 2004
TIME: 6:30 pm
PLACE: At the home of Kathleen Cruise
523 &endash; 45th Avenue
San Francisco 94121


Come hear Kathleen talk about her round-the-world tour!

The purpose of the Holiday Benefit Party is to have fun, meet friends and make new ones, and collect holiday gifts for residents of the Hamilton Family Center. We collect and deliver unwrapped presents to the family center, where the administrators match the right person to the right gift. Following is a wish list of possible gifts:

Stereos/CD Players
Double Dutch Jump Ropes
Baby Dolls (African American)
Basketball Related Presents (Equipment and Clothing)
Books for Middle School and High Schoolers
Movie Passes w/Popcorn Coupons
Sports Watches
Polaroid i-Zone 200 Mini Instant Cameras
Gift Certificates to Music Stores (i.e. Borders, Music Warehouse, Best Buy)Gameboys/Games
Gift Certificates to Grocery Stores
Gift Certificates to Old Navy/Ross/Mervyn's
Popular DVD's/Videos
Remote Control Cars
SF Giants Cap/Clothing
Interactive Baby Toys with Lights and Sounds
Crayons/Coloring Books
Arts and Crafts Sets
Photo Albums/Frames
Outdoor Sports Equipment
Journals and Stationary
Walkie Talkies
Leap Frog Learning Toys
Combination Set of Classic Board Games
Toy Trucks/Cars
Beanbag Chairs/Blow-Up Chairs

OWA Health Insurance

by Janet Crane
At the 11-3/4 hour, the injunction was approved and our current coverage remains in place, not just for the 10 year vets but for all members. Health Net has offered arbitration and Terry is working with them on that. His opinion is that the earliest the arbitration will come up is in June next year and perhaps as much as a year. So he says we are secure with our current coverage in the immediate future. So we would suggest that if you do not have as good a coverage as the old OWA plan as your alternate, stay with the plan and ride this out for a while longer.

Thanks very much for Terry for his flurry of communications in the last week and partial thanks to the Judge who should have ruled earlier. So let's celebrate for a bit!

We Want Your Email Address

If you are not receiving OWA event announcements, we do not have your email address. Please email Hana Mori to update our records.

The Miracle of Ghee

In August of this year, Debra Riordan, Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, presented the topic of health and healing based on Ayurvedic teachings, at the Casa Del Libro in San Francisco. During her presentation, she recommended using ghee.

Ghee is a specialized type of clarified butter which may be used as a cooking oil or condiment. When properly prepared, ghee does not require refrigeration (remember to use a clean utensil for dispensing). Ghee does not hydrogenate or burn when heated. Ghee internally nourishes all tissue levels and is especially beneficial for Vata and Pitta pacification.

Debra recommends Purity Farms ghee as a commercial brand. If however, you wish to prepare your own, here is her recipe:


a calm, meditative cook
wide mouth glass container(s)
heavy stainless steel or glass saucepan
1 pound unsalted organic butter
serving spoon or skimming
1 or 2 plates for ghee remnants
fine meshed strainer or cheesecloth
contents label


Sterilize glass container and serving spoon in boiling water for 2-3 minutes; set aside to dry. Container must be absolutely clean and dry before use.

Heat the butter gently in saucepan on low to medium setting, stirring continuously. Skim off foam with spoon into plate. Continue skimming and stirring for approximately 15-25 minutes. When the ghee starts to smell like buttered popcorn and the color turns a golden color, immediately remove the pan from the burner. (You will notice slight sediment at the bottom of the pan at this time). Stir the ghee one last time and allow to stand for 20-25 minutes. (This will allow the oil to thicken slightly for more effective separation from the sediment and foam). Pour ghee into the sterilized, dry container through the strainer or cheesecloth. The remaining foam and sediment may be mixed with brown sugar, herbs or spices and eaten as a snack with the next day. Label container with contents and date. Enjoy your homemade ghee!

For more information about Ayurvedic practices, contact Debra Riordan at 415.455.9578, or email her at

New Steering Committee Members

Elaine Hsieh is an acoustical engineering consultant with Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. Her consulting experience includes work in architectural acoustics, noise engineering (architectural and mechanical noise isolation), environmental noise mitigation, and expert witness work on litigation cases. She has worked extensively on multi-family residences, hospitals, and mixed-use spaces. Recent projects include Stanford Clark Center, Kaiser Permanente Hospitals, Center for the Arts in San Ramon, San Mateo Bay Meadows, 150 Powell Street, Marin Country Club, San Francisco SPCA Hospital, Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Waikoloa, and San Diego New Main Library.

Elaine attended Duke University for her undergraduate and graduate studies (B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering, M.S. Engineering Management with a concentration in Medical Ultrasound). In addition to being a member of OWA, she is an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Associate, Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Member, and Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) Associate. Elaine currently lives in San Francisco.

Alexandra Vondeling is an architect with Trachtenberg Architects in Berkeley. Her projects have included a mix of residential, commercial and non-profit remodels and new construction for such organizations as Children's Hospital and the Berkeley Richmond JCC. As a LEED accredited professional, her emphasis and interests are on green and sustainable building practices. Previously at Van der Ryn Architects, she worked exclusively on green projects including Draper Hall renovation at Berea College in Kentucky and the Golden Gate Park Pavilion.

Alex graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where she was a student of both Mui's and Mimi's. During that time she also spent several years in Italy, studying painting in Venice and doing an architectural internship in Tuscany. When she is not working she can be found hiking with her dog, cycling in the Berkeley hills or cooking up a feast for friends.

Documenting the Dammed

A photography exhibition documenting the cultural landscapes that are disappearing due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China.

by Pauline G Shu

November 6, 2004 to February 3, 2005
San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin Street
Chinese Center, Third Floor

Screening + Discussion
"Great Wall Across the Yangtze" a documentary (made in 2000) on the Three Gorges Dam Project.
2:00 pm Sunday, December 5, 2004
San Francisco Main Library
Koret Auditorium, Lower Level
Reception to follow
Latino/Hispanic Community Room, Lower Level

Sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library ( and the International Rivers Network (

Snapshots from the 2004 OWA Retreat

A delicious breakfast every morning

color exercises led by Jill Pilaroscia

Judith and Phoebe enjoy the su

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