A multi-racial multi-generational group play chess outside

Our Approach

How We Approach Our Work

Our work is guided by a holistic understanding of Homes, Health, and Voice. Housing as essential to a person's health. Food as health. Sustainability as health and a voice for the environment. Social work as advocacy. Advocacy as essential to being able to build more homes and foster community health.

Rooted in our mission and values, our work is driven and guided by the self-determined goals and needs of the communities and people we are in service to. Learn more about our service models and the guiding beliefs and operating principles that inform everything we do at TNDC.



Housing First

We believe housing is the key to ending homelessness and preventing the displacement of people of color
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Harm Reduction

We believe in meeting people where they're at in all facets of life including their relationship to drug use
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Cultural Humility

We believe that our services must be rooted in respect for an individual and community's culture and needs
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Housing First

“Home is stability and the foundation for everything. Without a home, you could be out there living in fear. Home comes first and then everything else comes after.”

Lorenzo Listana
Lead Community Organizer, TNDC

Our Guiding Beliefs

We believe that affordable housing provides the essential foundation for people and communities to thrive.
We believe affordable housing is the foundation on which better lives are built, and without it, people cannot address other challenges and meet goals in their lives. 

We believe we are most effective when we approach our work through a lens of racial and economic justice.
We believe that the problems we are working to address are deeply rooted in the country’s long and troubled history of discrimination and oppression. If we ignore this historical context or the present-day inequities, we could limit our impact or, worse, perpetuate marginalization and harm.

We believe that developing all types of housing is necessary to address the housing crisis in San Francisco. 
While we prioritize affordable housing development, we believe that market-rate development can help address the housing crisis if people with low incomes share in its benefits and are protected from its negative consequences. At the same time, development can lead to gentrification and displacement of lower-income residents. We need to work diligently and proactively to support those developments that contribute to more affordable housing, steer jobs to neighborhood residents, and provide businesses that serve the existing community.

We believe that pairing housing with a broad range of services leads to better outcomes for tenants and the community.
We believe that affordable housing alone is not enough. Connecting housing with on-site services maximizes housing stability, supports a sense of community connection, and fosters health and well-being.

We believe that our services must be voluntary and our work must be grounded in harm reduction.
We believe that people are the experts of their own experience and have the capacity to attain their self-identified goals. We have a responsibility to provide information and resources that support people to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Harm Reduction

"We all have mental health issues, and TNDC understands that.”

Former TNDC Tenant

Our Operating Principles

We take the long view.
We are engaged in difficult work that requires long-term planning, sustained effort and patience. We aim to develop systems and processes that are durable. We know that the choices we make today may not bear fruit immediately and will affect our neighborhoods and their residents for many years, and we take this responsibility seriously.

We offer our staff opportunity, resources, and support for personal and professional growth.
TNDC’s staff delivers its mission daily; retaining, motivating, and developing staff are paramount to meeting that mission. We strive to keep all staff informed of business opportunities and challenges, invest deeply in staff training and leadership development, prioritize promoting from within the organization, and reinforce demonstrations of our values.

We recognize risk as necessary to achieving our mission; we analyze carefully and mitigate where possible.
We cannot achieve our goals without taking risks. We recognize that we operate by relying only on the best information we have available at the time. We accept that we will make mistakes because that is the price of innovation and proceeding without certainty.

We maintain a financially sustainable organization in order to meet our mission.
Our continued financial strength allows us to invest in programs and people, to take risks and to avoid disruptions due to short-term volatility. Our sustainability derives from diverse streams of revenue and a disciplined approach to operations.

We conduct our work in an environmentally sustainable manner.
TNDC’s commitment to being an environmentally sustainable organization encompasses efficient use of resources and energy in our operations, attention to the health and safety of our staff, and application of green and integrated design principles. This includes the prioritization of healthful materials and practices, life-cycle assessment during design, and development of dense, infill, and transit-oriented projects.

We strive to operationalize equity in our organization.
To effectively work in service to and in partnership with people, we must be both
self-reflective and committed to learning about the historic, social, and systemic influences affecting individual and community outcomes.  We strive to work with cultural humility across the diverse backgrounds and life experiences of our residents and partners to leverage the greatest wisdom in designing effective TNDC programs, projects, and policies.

We aspire to learn and innovate in all areas of our work while balancing our commitment to evidence-based practice and evaluation.
We seek to ground our work in the intentional and judicious use of research and best practice, and are eager to learn from our peers. We also believe that we bring a unique perspective and creative thinking, and this enables us to try innovative approaches that may ultimately serve as a model for our field.

1916 project

What We're Reading

The 1619 Project by the Nikole Hannah-Jones is reframing the country’s history to elevate the reverberating consequences of slavery and thThe 1619 Project by the Nikole Hannah-Jones is reframing the country’s history to elevate the reverberating consequences of slavery and the too-often overlooked contributions of black Americans.e too-often overlooked contributions of black Americans.


Community Stories

Read stories from TNDC tenants, program participants, community members, and staff!