Mission, Philosophy, History

Promoting human dignity


Community Working Group’s mission is to address the needs of the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in the Midpeninsula area (Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park) by advocating for the development of affordable housing options and the provision of supportive services. We do this by marshalling community resources and coordinating strategic alliances with other community partners.

Poverty affects everyone

CWG believes that homelessness and poverty affect our whole community. They are problems over which we often feel confused as to how to respond with compassion and common sense. CWG believes that by working together to respond to these issues, our response will not only serve the needs of persons experiencing homelessness and those at risk, but of the entire community as well.

Working in partnership

Since we believe that a coordinated regional effort is the best way to establish affordable homes and enable the provision of beneficial services for very low-income or homeless individuals and families in our community, we focus on working collaboratively to achieve these goals. CWG has developed working partnerships with successful nonprofit organizations that share its vision and desire to serve unhoused individuals and families.

In addition to our work as a catalyst and convener, drawing together agencies from throughout the community to identify potential opportunities for affordable homes, CWG partners on development, advocates and raises funds, and bridges the gap between other agencies to ensure that projects come to fruition.

Responding to crisis with opportunity

IMG_1161-1CWG was started by a group of concerned citizens in 1998 to serve the needs of the homeless in the Midpeninsula.

Peninsula Interfaith Action had already identified the acute need for homeless services in the area, and when El Niño rains flooded the outdoor Palo Alto Drop-In Center, putting it temporarily out of commission, the need became a crisis. So in May 1998, Peninsula Interfaith Action organized a public meeting. Two-hundred seventy concerned Midpeninsula citizens attended, and the community publicly affirmed the vision for the Opportunity Center. CWG was formed to bring the Opportunity Center into being.

Collaborative vision

801 Alma Frame-up 065From its beginnings, CWG has been successful in securing the active participation and support of a diverse cross-section of organizations and individuals in the Midpeninsula area, including the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, Stanford University, religious organizations, local business people, social service providers, philanthropic individuals and families, local foundations and corporations, and local governments. CWG was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1999.