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Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency

The mission of BOSS is to help homeless, poor, and disabled people achieve health and self-sufficiency, and to fight against the root causes of poverty and homelessness.

http://www.self-sufficiency.org Tax ID 51-0173390


The organization was founded in 1971 by a group of volunteers from the Hillel Streetwork Project (including founder and long-time Board Member Ursula Sherman) who responded to the needs of mentally ill individuals being released to the streets by state hospital closures. Ursula raised enough money to pay first director Jim Baumohl $50 per week, and the volunteer-run initiative was incorporated to become a nonprofit service organization.

Over the years as additional crises hit our communities—sharply reduced federal housing funds, failing schools, unaffordable health care, a failed war on drugs, and more—the number of homeless people increased dramatically. For the next few decades BOSS added new programs in response to changing needs: shelters, transitional houses, education and employment programs, family and child development services, health and mental health care programs, leadership development and organizing initiatives, and more. Most recently BOSS expanded our programs to serve citizens returning from incarceration, with mass incarceration posing as grave a threat to community health, equity, and justice as mass homelessness does.

Today BOSS is an award-winning grassroots organization that combines neighborhood-based housing and assistance programs with a strong social justice focus—our focus is on fighting mass homelessness, poverty, mass incarceration, and community violence, with the deeply held belief that all people are capable to changing their lives with the right kind of services and support, and that impacted individuals can and should be leaders in forging social change!