About the Organization

Project WeHOPE, a 501(c)3 nonprofit located in East Palo Alto, California, stands for “We Help Other People Excel.” It is a unique Emergency and Supportive Housing Shelter for the unhoused, homeless and at-risk adults in East Palo Alto and surrounding San Mateo County and Santa Clara County communities.

Founded by Pastor Paul Bains, a fourth-generation Pastor in East Palo Alto, and his wife Cheryl. Through a generous donation by San Mateo County in 2009, Project WeHOPE opened its doors that winter and served hundreds of homeless during the coldest six months of the year ever since. Today, WeHOPE is a year-round supportive and emergency shelter, offering many resources and services to clients.


Members of


A Message from Pastor Paul J. Bains, Co-Founder and President

As a third generation Pastor, a spirit of hope and a heart for the homeless burned inside me since I was young. I have spent 90% of my life in East Palo Alto, and my father was notorious for giving five dollars bills to those in need as he served in our beloved city.

Through a generous donation by San Mateo County, Project WeHOPE opened our doors of hope in the Winter of 2009, and have served hundreds of homeless during the coldest six months of the year ever since. This year, we are embarking on the next phase of our dream – to build a year-round shelter right here in East Palo Alto – the first of its kind and a long time coming!

For a cost of $45 per day, we provide food, shelter, shower and laundry facilities, and case management for each client at the Warming Shelter. Won’t you partner with us to provide poor, sick and broken families with the help they need, today?

Thank you for your time, talent and treasure. The burden grows everyday. We can only bear this burden further with your continued support.

Pastor Paul J. Bains


Historical Timeline of Project WeHOPE

1999 – WeHOPE was incorporated as a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation

Originally developed in response to the a need in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties to provide families with hope, positive alternatives, and possible solutions to drugs, violence, homelessness, illiteracy and other elements that hinder the positive development of young lives.

2000 – Lord’s Gym Community Center opens in East Palo Alto. The Lord’s Gym programs were designed to achieve positive outcomes for young people ages 13-25 through programs and services that contribute to restoring lives and building up leadership for community transformation.

2004 – WeHOPE Chaplaincy program was established to support law enforcement officers, their families as well as victims of crime within the East Palo Alto community. Each time there is a homicide or a shooting in East Palo Alto, one of 15 trained chaplains are called o the scene to offer spiritual, emotional and physical aid.

2009 – WeHOPE Warming Shelter opens (in the Lord’s Gym). The Warming Shelter opened to meet the need of the most disadvantaged. Food, overnight shelter, dental care, health services and transportation were offered. As an extension of the services, Project WeHOPE collaborated with San Mateo County to identify and provide services to the community’s homeless.

2010 WeHOPE uses warming shelter for inclement weather.

2012 – WeHOPE undergoes renovation to double restroom and shower facilities, added a laundry area, a designated conference room, build out an attic for storage, and improved security and technology to provide the safest environment possible for individuals staying at the WeHOPE warming shelter.

2013

  • Grand opening of the new Project WeHOPE Shelter, and opened as a year-round emergency homeless shelter for adults.
  • First EPA Homeless Connect event takes place connecting clients with service providers within the San Mateo County.
  • 17 clients were housed in 2013

2014

  • Formerly launched the Transitional/Supportive Housing Program.
  • US Congresswoman Jackie Speier attends the annual Homeless Connect and presents WeHOPE with a special recognition award
  • 16 Clients were housed

2015

  • Launched HOPE Jobs. In partnership with industry professionals, clients have the opportunity to get certified as a Custodial Technician and to become a Security Guard. Initial funding for the program came from the San Francisco Community Foundation.
  • Dignity on Wheels mobile shower and laundry trailer is launched (September), first serving at the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City and then at the Trinity Church of Sunnyvale in Sunnyvale, CA. Major funding for the first trailer came from the Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and many generous donors.
  • 34 clients received housing

2016

  • Launched second Dignity on Wheels, primarily to serve San Jose and parts of South Santa Clara county. Major funding for the second trailer came from the Sobrato Family Foundation, Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose, along with many generous private donors.
  • Project WeHOPE is recognized by CA State Senator Jerry Hill as the Nonprofit of the Year, serving District 13
  • 22 Clients received housing

2017

  • 4 clients housed so far this year (as of April 2017)