Samaritan House Celebrates 50 Years of Service to the Community

San Mateo human-services nonprofit marks five decades of providing food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and financial assistance to San Mateo County’s working poor.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Samaritan House of San Mateo County celebrates a significant milestone this year, commemorating 50 years of leading the fight against poverty in San Mateo County. The San Mateo-based nonprofit serves 26,000 clients and operates five pantries in San Mateo and Redwood City, two free medical clinics, and homeless shelters in South San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City. The organization also runs Kids Closet which provides donated children’s clothing, and emergency relief funds to low-income families. 

“For 50 years, we have built on the need identified by our founder, Dr. Cora Clemons, who felt there was a better way to connect struggling community members to vital resources. We’ve come a long way from the days of Dr. Clemons running Samaritan House out of a two-bedroom home in San Mateo, and we look forward to serving our neighbors for the next 50 years and beyond,” shares Samaritan House CEO Laura Bent.  

Among Samaritan House’s key accomplishments:

  • Under the leadership of early CEO John Kelly, Samaritan House became a County Core Service Agency in 1985
  • Since March 2020, Samaritan House has distributed over $125 million into the community helping individuals and families avoid homelessness
  • During COVID in 2021, Samaritan House opened Pacific Emergency Shelter  allowing clients to shelter safely in individual rooms
  • In 2023, Samaritan House provided a record-breaking 4.8 million meals to community members facing food insecurity
  • In the last 5 years, Samaritan House increased the number of clients served by 78% through food programs, shelter services, clothing, healthcare, and financial assistance

Samaritan House’s commitment to empowering self-reliance and leading into the future

Samaritan House measures its impact by the self-reliance their clients achieve. Case managers provide personalized support and planning for each client to ensure their unique needs are addressed. Over the past five decades, Samaritan House has scaled to address the growing needs of those experiencing poverty in our community. The organization distinguishes itself as professionally led, volunteer-supported, and client-centered. 

As the lead anti-poverty organization and backbone agency for San Mateo County, Samaritan House brings together organizations, resources, and new ideas to solve complex challenges. The San Mateo-based nonprofit believes that an enduring community is only possible when every person is elevated out of poverty. This vision drives Samaritan House’s ongoing program innovation, like the Guaranteed Income pilot program launching in 2024 for single mothers living in poverty, a proposed Community Resiliency Center, and innovative workforce development partnerships. Samaritan House is also part of a national coalition led by U.S. Congressman Kevin Mullin to modernize the federal poverty line.

About Samaritan House 
For 50 years, Samaritan House has been leading the fight against poverty in San Mateo County. We are the only organization that delivers essential services and personalized support to help people living in poverty among us achieve financial independence and remain active, successful parts of our community. To learn more, visit

To request an interview with experts from Samaritan House or photos/video, please contact Liza Batallones at 415.766.0846 or

SOURCE Samaritan House of San Mateo County