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In California, two million native English speakers are functionally illiterate, meaning that they are not able to read, write or communicate in English at levels sufficient for most jobs and the society at large. (National Adult Literacy Survey) 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 those formerly homeless adults 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 need job counseling, training and placement.

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.

To start 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

Canon Barcus Community House
165 Eighth Street
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 with a desire to work with homeless and formerly homeless adults. To volunteer please contact Mallory Hasick, ECS Volunteer Manager at or (415) 487-3300 x1245.