COVID-19 Information Center

Shanti Project is here for you.


* Updated April 3* Shanti is currently providing essential services and other updates.

In light of the evolving public health concerns and directives around novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made modifications to our services. Please read below for the latest announcements and resources.

  • Shanti Project, including Shanti’s Pets Are Wonderful Support, is currently providing essential services and care navigation by phone/email.
  • We are operating remotely and our physical locations are closed through at least May 3.
  • Per the City of San Francisco’s Shelter in Place Order, we are extending the suspension of our non-essential services, including Groups, Activities Desk, and non-essential in-person appointments.
  • PAWS: Food bank deliveries are on a modified schedule. Food Bank pick up is by appointment and can be scheduled with a care navigator.
  • PAWS: We are still providing dog walking, vet care, pet food, and emergency pet foster care (please read the PAWS client message below for more detail).

Clients and volunteers can call care navigators and other Shanti Staff as usual to receive support.

Contact Information for Shanti Program Directors
Shanti Contacts
HIV ProgramsEric SutterDirector, HIV
LGBTQ Aging & Abilities Network (LAASN)Joanne B. KipnisLAASN Program
Margot Murphy Women’s Cancer ProgramJudith Biletnikoff HarkinsWomen’s Cancer Program
PACTAlyssa NickellPACT Program
Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)Katherine D’AmatoPAWS Program
Volunteer Services & HIV Planning CouncilMark MolnarDirector of Volunteer & Community Support Services(415)

For a full listing of staff, please visit our Staff Page.

Most Recent COVID-19 Communications
Message from Shanti's Executive Director | March 21

Dear Shanti Community,

After getting through a week unlike any other, I hope you are well and finding ways to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and those around you.

As difficult as these times are, I have been buoyed by the amazing compassion and spirit of generosity that are the hallmarks of the Bay Area. I am reminded of what Mr. Rogers once said his mother shared with him about times of disaster: “Look for the helpersYou will always find people who are helping.” And San Francisco most certainly abounds with these helpers—from the incredible health professionals; to our dedicated elected officials; to all the brave folks providing essential services at grocery stores, pharmacies, and beyond; and to our many sister safety-net nonprofits that continue to offer vital support to those most marginalized. San Francisco once again shines as a light, a beacon of hope in the darkness of this time.

None of us know what the upcoming weeks and months hold for San Francisco and the world as we continue to face the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. What I do know—and what I want you to know—is that, while taking the appropriate precautions for our staff and volunteers, we are continuing to be the “difference between zero and one.” That is to say we are bridging the gap between having someone and having no one by the side of those most vulnerable and those most at risk for having serious medical complications if they contract COVID-19.

In fact, we are honored that the City of San Francisco has asked Shanti to step up in two vital ways. First, San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services has requested we partner with them to create a system for recruiting and supporting San Franciscans who have expressed an interest in helping their neighbors as emergency support volunteers. We will be sharing more about this effort with all of you next week.

Additionally, in collaboration with other government agencies and community-based organizations, Shanti’s Peer Advocate Care Team (PACT) is taking the lead on the COVID-19 response and coordination for Potrero Hill Terrace and Annex public housing residents. Our PACT team is assessing every household for risk and need through one-on-one meetings. This data will guide HOPE SF and help support these residents during this pandemic.

As an organization that exists to build human connections to reduce isolation and improve quality of life, the paradox of physical distancing in this critical time is not lost on us. But physical distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional isolation, and we’re not alone in this belief. The world over has been reaching out to loved ones and strangers; “gathering” on separate balconies and online; and sharing grief and humor.

In this uniquely fragile time, we are reminded, that in times of crisis and despair, San Francisco does not abandon our most vulnerable. While we must physically distance ourselves, we find connection, we find compassion, we find San Francisco to be a city of people who are ready and willing to take care of each other.

I want to thank all of you for your support and partnership, and please continue to take good care of yourself and one another.

With love,

Kaushik Roy
Executive Director
Shanti Project

Shine A Light With Your Gift of Support 

Shanti Client Message - April 1

Shanti continues to operate and provide essential services.

On March 31, the City and County of San Francisco issued a public order, replacing the March 16 shelter in place order. The new order extends and tightens the “stay safe at home” restrictions through May 3. 

Shanti Project is here for you and continues to provide essential services, including care navigation, peer support, and delivery of medication. Our staff is working remotely to provide these essential services, so our physical offices will remain closed through May 3. Non-essential activities, including Groups and Activities Desk, remain suspended.

We know these are particularly challenging times. Please continue to reach out to your care navigator for care navigation, to express concerns, or ask questions.

PAWS Client Message - April 2

Dear PAWS Clients,

We hope you are doing ok during this strange time. The City and County of San Francisco has extended the shelter in place requirement through at least May 3rd. We would like to let you know how this affects your PAWS services.

PAWS is here for you.
We are continuing to provide essential services, with some modifications
The PAWS office is currently closed.  We are working remotely and have adapted a number of our services.

We want to help you and your pet(s). Please reach out to your PAWS Care Navigator with any requests for care navigation or to ask questions. Please note the following modifications to our services:

  • Food Bank:
    • Clients on delivery will continue to receive deliveries, but on a modified schedule.
    • There will be no Saturday Food Banks at the PAWS office. However, clients can call their CN to schedule a pick-up appointment.
  • PAWS will continue to pay for Vet Care at the SPCA, Blue Cross, Mission Pet Hospital, All Pets, and other partner vet hospitals. Please call before coming in, because some vet offices have limited hours or limited services.
  • PAWS Ask the Vet services have been cancelled through May 3. Please call us for veterinary questions and one of our volunteer vets may be able to talk with you by phone.
  • Dog Walking is continuing on a case-by-case basis. Please talk with your walker(s) to discuss your situation. If you continue, please limit physical contact with each other and the pet(s).
  • Dog Washes at Pet Food Express have been cancelled through May 3.
  • For Emergency Pet Foster Care or other pet support needs, please talk with your PAWS Care Navigator.

How to get in touch with PAWS:

-For clients with last names beginning with letters A-J, please contact Ali Sutch by email at or by phone at 415-265-9208.

-For clients with last names beginning with letters K-Z, please call 415-815-8244 or email Richard Goldman has retired, but a PAWS staff member will respond as soon as possible.

Please reach out to let us know how we can support you and your pets during these challenging times.


Katherine, Prado, Ali, Lolo, and Norma

Peer Support Volunteer Message - April 2

Dear Peer Support Volunteers,

Thank you for your support as we all navigate this coronavirus pandemic.

We would like to inform you of recent updates from the City and County of San Francisco and Shanti as well as reshare our recommendations for working with clients at this time.

Updates from the City and County of San Francisco:
On March 31, the City and County of San Francisco issued a public order, extending the one previously issued on March 16. The new order extends and tightens the “stay safe at home” restrictions for an additional 26 days, through May 3.

Updates from Shanti:
Shanti remains operational but has extended its physical office closure through May 3. As before, even though our brick-and-mortar spaces will be closed, we will still be able to provide essential services and care navigation by phone to our clients. Similarly, we are extending our temporary suspension of non-essential services, including groups, activities desk, and non-essential in-person appointments.

For Peer Support Volunteers:
Likewise, we continue to ask that peer support volunteers refrain from non-essential in-person meetings with their clients during this time and utilize alternative means of communication to stay connected. By “non-essential” we are referring to in-person emotional support meetings and light housework. Please continue to check in with your client via phone during this time period as they may be feeling particularly isolated.

Essential Services and Peer Support Volunteers:
If you are the primary provider of grocery/food and medication delivery, this is considered an essential service, and we ask that you use your best judgment regarding the continuation of this support.

If you decide to continue this essential support, we ask:

  • If possible, limit your use of public transportation when traveling to and from your client
  • Practice social distancing (the recommendation by the city is to maintain six feet of distance)
  • Maintain sanitation practices in all aspects of your life, not just when interacting with your client.
  • Before and after interacting with your client, you should wash your hands with soap and water. If this is not an option, use an alcohol based sanitizer.
  • Limit physical interaction with your client.

We ask that you do not provide this support if:

  • You are age 60+ and/or living with a compromised immune system.
  • You are sick or are caring for someone who is.

If you cannot or decide not to continue essential support:

  • Please contact your care navigator or Volunteer Services staff.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your care navigator or Volunteer Services staff. If you are the primary provider of grocery/food and medication delivery to your client and are unable or do not feel comfortable to continue providing this support, please inform your care navigator as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, concerns, or need support Volunteer Services and care navigators are here. Feel free to send us an email or give us a call.

With gratitude,

Shanti Volunteer Services Team

PAWS Volunteer Email - April 2

Hello PAWS Volunteers,

I hope you are all faring well and in good health. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate the needs of our clients and larger community in the midst of this public health crisis.

I’m writing to update you on our office closures and service modifications.  The City of San Francisco has updated and extended the shelter-in-place order at least through May 3rd. In response, we are extending our office closures and modified services to at least May 3rd. Shanti Project continues to be an essential service for our clients, and we will continue to operate modified services with all necessary health and safety protocols in place, including limited staff and volunteers.

Ask the Vet Clinics and volunteers are canceled for April, and early May.

Dog Walkers continue to provide an essential service for our clients. Dog walkers must maintain mandatory social distancing and sanitation practices.

PAWS Pet Food Bank continues to serve our clients during shelter-in-place through delivery and appointment-only pick up.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer (CERV) Program

As a leader in volunteer support services for isolated and medically vulnerable members of our community, Shanti Project is partnering with the City of San Francisco to provide one time or occasional practical support to older and vulnerable adults during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can learn more here.

The PAWS team continues to work remotely. If you have any questions or concerns, we are available during our usual business hours. Please feel free to reach out.

Stay safe and take care of one another,

Lolo Fernandez (he & they pronouns)
Food Bank & Client Services Coordinator
Shanti Project | PAWS Program

(P) 415.625.5216 (F) 415.979.9269

PAWS Dog Walking Volunteer Message - March 17

Hi PAWS Dog Walking Volunteers,

 I hope you are all in good health and finding ways to be gentle with yourselves during this stressful time.

 If you haven’t seen ,Mayor London Breed issued a city-wide “shelter in place” for all non-essential travel and activity. While the order limits non-essential travel outside of the home, many essential businesses and services will remain open, including those that offer social and practical support to disadvantaged individuals. The Shanti Project falls under this category as an essential service to our community, and as such, is not affected by the shelter-in-place order. That being said, we are scaling back our operations and personnel in our effort to reduce the community-level spread of COVID-19 as well as the individual risk to our clients, staff, and volunteers.

I’m sure many of you are wondering how this news will impact your dog walking relationship with your clients and their pets. At this time, we are asking volunteers to be in conversation with their clients about their needs, fears, and risk and how that relates to the dog walking service you provide. If, for any reason, you or your client are uncomfortable with continuing your relationship at this time, you may of course suspend your dog walking indefinitely.

Some examples of when you might want to suspend dog walking include:

          If you or someone you care for is age 60+ or living with a compromised immune system

          If you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick

If you and your client would like to continue dog walking, we ask:

          If possible, limit your use of public transportation when traveling to and from your client

          Practice social distancing (the recommendation by the city is to maintain 6 feet of distance)

–       Maintain sanitation practices in all aspects of your life, not just when interacting with your client.

          Before and after interacting with your client or their pet, you should wash your hands with  soap and water. If this is not an option, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

          Limit physical interaction with your client and their pet. This includes touching, petting, or receiving kisses from the dog.

          If you need to pick up the dog for safety reasons, please remember to sanitize or wash your hands afterwards.

 We believe that each of you in conversation with your clients can come up with the best way forward. In times like this, we are so grateful to the community and connections we have built at Shanti. We understand the risk to individuals as well as communities that this novel virus poses. We also hold how critical it is to our clients to remain connected and to continue to receive the essential support you offer. 


If you decide that you are unable to offer dog walking at this time, please let myself, your client, as well as your dog walking team know. I encourage you to reach out to your client over phone or text over the coming weeks to check in, even if you aren’t able to offer dog walking. 

The PAWS staff will be working remotely, so please continue to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or needs.

Whatever way forward is best for you and yours, I’m wishing you all good health and even some joy in the coming weeks.



Take care of each other,

Lolo Fernandez

(he & they pronouns)

Food Bank & Client Services Coordinator

Shanti Project | PAWS Program

(P) 415.625.5216

(F) 415.979.9269

Ways to Help Out
Be an Emergency Volunteer

Join Shanti and the City of San Francisco’s Department of Disability & Aging Services as as a volunteer in the COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer (CERV) program. Learn more at

To sign up, email or call 415.674.4701 and leave a message.

Provide a Gift of Financial Support

In this critical time of need, your gift can really make a big difference.

More information and how to donate: 

Help spread the word about Shanti Project and CERV.

Share this flyer and the CERV webpage 

  • On NextDoor
  • On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Email your network
  • Word of Mouth
Additional Resources From San Francisco Department of Public Health
Symptoms of COVID-19

According to the CDC website, The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath. Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website for more information and information on when to seek medical attention.

Homelessness or No Health Care Provider & Symptoms

If you are experiencing homelessness or don’t have a healthcare provider and are exhibiting symptoms, you can go to Urgent Care at 50 Ivy Street (also called Whole Person Integrated Care – Urgent Care) Monday-Thursday 8:00-6:30, Friday 8:00-5:00, Saturday 9:00-5:00.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek care at any emergency department.