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We uplift women and their children through the promotion of safe housing and self-sufficiency

Cameo House, operated by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ), offers a transformative opportunity for justice-involved women and their children in San Francisco. This unique program provides a residential alternative to incarceration, where participants can live with their children while receiving comprehensive support services. With a focus on gender responsiveness and a commitment to creating a safe, nurturing environment, Cameo House empowers women to rebuild their lives and fosters stronger family bonds. Since its inception, the program has been a beacon of hope, helping participants to navigate the challenges of reintegration and to thrive as valuable members of the community.

Why are we called Cameo House?

The name Cameo House” beautifully captures the essence of transformation and newfound value. It represents the journey from the unassuming to the extraordinary, symbolizing the potential within each individual to emerge as a significant and valued member of society. This metaphor extends to the participants of Cameo House, who, with guidance and support, discover their own worth and place within the community. It’s a powerful reminder that everyone has the capacity for change and growth, and that with the right environment and encouragement, people can reveal their unique strengths and contribute meaningfully to the world around them. The name is not just a title; it’s a narrative of hope, resilience, and the beauty of human potential.

Eligibility & referrals

Cameo House works directly with justice and community partners to offer justice-involved women a place to live with their children as an alternative to incarceration, to serve out their jail sentences while in program, to come as part of a pre-trial agreement, and/​or to transition back to the community without risk of homelessness or re-criminalization.

Participants must be 18 years or older, women identified, be justice involved, and be certifiably homeless. Participants may also have a child/​children in custody or be in either formal or informal reunification processes. Participation is based upon a mutual agreement between the individual and the Cameo House program guidelines Please also view our Cameo House participant expectations here.

Referrals for Cameo House may come through any justice partner, legal representative, community agency or advocate, or by self-referral. The completed referral documents may be emailed directly to Cameo House Program Manger Charity Harris at harris@​cjcj.​org. Self-referrals may also be done over the phone by calling Cameo House directly at 4156215661100.

How it works

Cameo remains one of the only long-term residential options for justice-involved women with children over the age of 3yrs in San Francisco. The program is designed for 12-months, however participants can remain up to 24 months depending on individual circumstances with the average stay around 18 months.

The Cameo House staff serve as a diverse, multi-disciplinary team supporting each woman and family in building skills in areas such as:

Physical/​mental health & substance abuse support

Justice/​Systems Involvement & Advocacy

Parenting & Life Skills

Transition to Stable Housing

Economic Self-Sufficiency

Educational & Vocational Attainment

Building Healthy Relationships

Community/​Civic Engagement

Keeping Families Together

The system is set up to separate families and Cameo House is not that at all. They will fight 100% to keep families together and to help you be with your children. That’s different from the other programs out there.”


The Cameo House Program has been serving women with children experiencing homelessness in SF since 1998. Since 2006 they have prioritized justice-involved women with children as their focus population. In 2014, in partnership with the San Francisco Adult Probation Department (SFAPD), Cameo House established San Francisco’s first alternative sentencing program for women with children.

A January 2021 external program evaluation found that of the 22 women and 18 children served from September 2019 to September 2020:

of participants with substance issues show decreased use at Cameo House
of participants achieve one or more of their program goals
of participants report that they feel safe at Cameo House
of participants gained and sustained employment
of participants returned to education (e.g. GED, high school credits, City College of San Francisco)
of graduating participants moved into permanent and stable housing

I feel like I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for Cameo House. A lot has to do with myself, but they gave me a place to do that…I feel like they gave me a space to find myself…and a chance to get it together.” 

Cameo House participant

The program was designed and is run by persons with experience in the criminal justice system and residential treatment and staff. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Program employees are diverse, culturally competent, have lived experience, are trained in-house constantly, and can respond appropriately to both facility and participant needs with the goal of supporting families in achieving individualized plan goals.

Rebecca Jackson, Director of Cameo House
Tel: (415) 6215661 ext. 106
Fax: (415) 6215466

Charity Harris, Program Manager, Cameo House
Tel: (415) 6215661 ext. 100
Fax: (415) 6215466

Volunteer at Cameo House

Interested in volunteering with Cameo House? We’d love to have you!

Check out our Cameo House Volunteer Opportunities and apply today!

Contact: Charity Harris, Director of Cameo House

Find out more about CJCJ job, internship, and volunteer opportunities and applications here.