Francis Coppola and North Beach Citizens

Francis Ford Coppola talks about homelessness, life, friendship, neighborhood history, and his ideas about the future as he tells the remarkable story of North Beach Citizens, the volunteer organization he spearheaded twenty years ago to help grapple with the lives and needs of homeless and unhoused people living in his neighborhood in San Francisco.

This month marks the 20th Anniversary of North Beach Citizens. Normally at this time of year some 400 people gather in the church basement of Saints Peter & Paul near Washington Square Park for an epic community dinner that raises the funds to keep NBC’s vital series of services available. Like everywhere, the pandemic has been hard on the unhoused and raised their numbers by some 64% in North Beach alone. The need is great.

As a frontline service provider, NBC is distributing nearly 3 times more food to the community than this time last year through daily meals “to-go,” and Wednesday Community Food Pantry. As a beacon of support for the neighborhood, they ensure that people who are living close to the margins know that they are part of a caring community and connected to support that meets their individual needs.

Our story takes us deep into the North Beach community with interviews with North Beach Citizens, volunteers, staff, clients—food writer and long time North Beach resident Peggy Knickerbocker, poetry and stories of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the supporter and Guardian Angel of North Beach Citizens, and more.

“Every neighborhood would benefit from a community group addressing homelessness”
— Francis Ford Coppola, Founder of North Beach Citizens