Mission and Vision

LSS of Northern California promotes stability and honor the dignity of those we serve by providing supportive housing services that lead to self-sufficiency. We envision communities that have hope, stability, and a path to self-sufficiency.

History

The roots of LSS were planted in 1883 in San Francisco when a group of West Coast Lutherans gathered to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s birth. In the first organized expression of Lutheran social ministry for West Coast Lutherans, money was collected for the care of orphans.

By 1925, an institutional chaplaincy program was established and began serving the elderly in residential care facilities. In 1945, the Lutheran Welfare Council of Northern California was formed to act as a social service agency supported by Lutheran churches of the area. It offered a range of programs and advocacy calling for social reform to help the needy. In 1967, the Lutheran Child and Family Service and the Lutheran Welfare Service merged to become Lutheran Social Services of Northern California (LSS).

In the years that followed, LSS secured contracts for home management training, transitional housing, child abuse prevention, and substance abuse prevention. LSS responded to the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s by creating the city’s first financial management and representative payee services. This program continues to serve more than 2,000 people with special needs. LSS was one of the first faith-based agencies in San Francisco to respond to the AIDS crisis.

In 1996, money management programs became a major focus and a foundation for other support services for vulnerable individuals and families, such as case management and supportive housing. In 1998, we began providing case management services in permanent supportive housing sites. Every year, LSS helps thousands of individuals with acute needs, including the elderly, young families, people with mental illness or disabilities, the chronically homeless, victims of domestic violence, individuals fighting addictions, people living with HIV/AIDS and young people who are struggling to transition from the foster care system to independence.

LSS works to address the underlying causes of homelessness, which may include mental illness, disability, chronic disease, unemployment, poverty, addiction, placement in the foster care system or surviving a disaster. We provide case management and support services in five permanent supportive housing sites in San Francisco, as well as to individuals in additional supportive housing sites in San Francisco, Contra Costa, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.

LSS is part of a network of 300 Lutheran social ministry organizations, making it one of the largest non-profit healthcare and social services systems in the United States. These organization touch the lives one in every 40 people in the nation and have a combined annual operating budgets in excess of $3.5 billion.