In California, an estimated two million native English speakers are functionally illiterate; in other words, they are not able to read, write or communicate in English at levels sufficient for most jobs. Levels of illiteracy and functional illiteracy are higher among homeless populations.

With over 17 years' experience, the Adult Education Center specializes in providing a stable, caring and individualized learning environment for students who are coping with the inter-related challenges of homelessness, illiteracy, learning disabilities, substance abuse, and mental health issues.
While created particularly for homeless adults and formerly homeless adults now living in supportive housing, the Adult Education Center is open to all low-income individuals in San Francisco who would like to further develop their academic skills, or who need job counseling, training, and placement assistance.

The Adult Education Center offers morning and afternoon classes in literacy, basic education, and GED preparation. Students attend small classes and can receive one-on-one instruction. Classes are open-enrollment; students can sign up anytime and be placed in a class right away.

How to get academic and job training:

Before starting classes, students must attend an orientation:
Orientations are drop-in every Monday-Thursday at 1:00pm.
To arrange an alternative time for orientation, please call (415) 487-3300 x1101.

Assessment and Placement
Each student meets with a teacher to assess interest and academic level and to determine the appropriate level of instruction.

Vocational Guidance
Vocational guidance is available to Skills Center students and to residents of ECS supportive housing sites.

Canon Barcus Community House
165 Eighth Street (at Natoma)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 487-3300 x1101
Fax: (415) 487-3330

Adult Education Center Staff:
Kathryn Benton, Education Program Manager (415) 487-3300 x1102
Mark Thomas, Instructor
Katherine Powell, Instructor
Kai Marks, Five Keys Instructor

The Adult Education Center is always looking for volunteer tutors and class assistants. Tutors must be 18 years or older and have experience in tutoring, plus a desire to work with homeless and formerly homeless adults. To volunteer, please contact Anjali Ruvalcaba, ECS Volunteer Coordinator, at or (415) 487-3300 x1244.