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The Market: An unhoused hero's dream community in San Francisco

'The Market' allows unhoused individuals to utilize their skills or learn new ones to empower themselves and reconnect to society.

Photo of The Market SF
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

As a means to manage the homelessness crisis and the dependency on alcohol and drug use by the unhoused, we're initiating a way for them to find their purpose and peace. Ideally a person or family that is unhoused can come to San Francisco and join what we are calling "The Market". It works as transitional employment and training to make them feel valued and find their purpose. They can use skills they have or learn new ones to sell goods and make a living to sustain a life in expensive San Francisco (SF). It also provides them with facilities to stay in-house and feel like a family. Ultimately they create their own community, build on their skills, earn some income and integrate back into the larger society of SF residents. By selling products to everyone they are no longer alienating themselves. The Market will eventually provide a public area where people can shower, wash clothes, eat meals and have access to first aid. They will also start partnering with other organizations to provide employment opportunities at cafes, libraries, stores, schools and so on.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This idea targets the city of San Francisco. Currently there is a large amount of homelessness due to the disparity in income in the Bay Area and the rising costs of living. The gentrification of San Francisco is an evolving dispute causing displacement and disharmony to all.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

By integrating the homeless back into society and allowing them to utilize their skills to provide for themselves, we are giving them a platform to feel part of the community as a whole. We are helping them build confidence to leverage their skills and support themselves.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Our idea helps in encouraging the homeless to feel a sense of achievement and build their confidence as humans. Feeling content and valued in the society will elevate their morale and eventually their lifestyle.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Unemployment rates will greatly decrease and the stigma around the homeless population will change where they are capable of working and fitting into the community.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

The 2 inspirations behind this idea are: Farming Hope, "a culinary program and social movement promoting self-sufficiency by creating equitable opportunities in local food businesses" ( and the other comes from villages in Africa where during dry seasons, they must use other means of income. They utilize resources from the land to make baskets, necklaces and work in farms in order to make money. Today many communities in Africa sell their products through e-commerce.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name


Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

We met through an OpenIDEO workshop in SF. We are a group of designers that have different skillsets and are passionate about problem-solving for our local community. We want to use the Human Centered Design approach to integrate and iterate on solutions for this cause.

Type of submitter

  • We are an OpenIDEO Chapter

Organization Headquarters: Country

United States of America

Organization Headquarters: City / State

San Francisco, California


Join the conversation:

Photo of NDEF Cameroon

Hi The Market SF Team, welcome to the Challenge. We wish you success in your good work!

Photo of The Market SF

NDEF Cameroon Thank you & wish you the same!