San Francisco shelter operator got $105,000 for work it never did, city officials say

A hotel with the word "Oasis" in front of it.
The Oasis Hotel in San Francisco has been used as a shelter for homeless people.
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All you had to do was drive by this shelter for homeless people, and it was clear that San Francisco had been duped, officials say.

There was no new paint job brightening the Oasis Hotel, which houses some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. That was just some of the work for which the city was brazenly charged but was never actually completed, the city attorney says.

A nonprofit that operates shelters and other housing programs across San Francisco has been suspended from bidding on new contracts and grants after an investigation revealed it falsified invoices to receive more than $100,000, according to the San Francisco city attorney’s office.


In a written statement, City Atty. David Chiu said he also started debarment proceedings against the nonprofit, Providence Foundation of San Francisco. The proceedings would elevate the suspension to a ban that could last up to five years.

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Vernon C. Goins, attorney for the nonprofit, said in an email response to The Times that the Providence Foundation was aware of the allegations and “fully cooperating with the city and county of San Francisco investigation” and would take remedial action where it was appropriate.

“Any action by the City and County of San Francisco to prohibit, prevent or ban the Providence Foundation of San Francisco from participating in the procurement process for contracts or from entering into contracts directly or indirectly with, or applying for or receiving grants, from the City are unfounded and baseless,” he added. “If debarment proceedings are initiated, the Providence Foundation of San Francisco is confident that it will successfully prove that it never engaged in any willful misconduct as to any City grant or contract.”

The announcement Monday came after Chiu’s office said it discovered that the Providence Foundation falsified invoices in 2022 for work related to the Oasis Hotel, a shelter for families experiencing homelessness. The San Francisco-based nonprofit, which began operating the shelter in 2021, claimed it had painted the outside of the hotel and removed deadbolt locks, but no work was actually performed, officials said.

In all, the city paid the nonprofit $105,000 for the work it claimed in the invoices.

“There’s a difference between having challenges with financial compliance and intentionally defrauding the city and its taxpayers,” Chiu said. “This nonprofit took over $100,000 of public money meant to benefit people experiencing homelessness. That cannot be tolerated.”

In the statement, the city attorney’s office placed particular blame on Kenisha Roach, the Providence Foundation’s director of operations, and Patricia Doyle, its executive director, saying they vouched for the invoices by submitting them for payment rather than checking to see whether the work claimed in the invoices was legitimate.


“The lack of new exterior paint is obvious to any person who views the Oasis, let alone the executive director and director of operations of the nonprofit in charge of operating the hotel,” the statement read.

City officials say that fraudulent invoices aren’t Providence Foundation’s only alleged transgressions.

Last year in March, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing sent letters demanding the nonprofit come into compliance after the department received complaints from foundation workers about wage theft, nepotism, mismanagement and other deficiencies.

“Providence [Foundation] ignored the clear anti-nepotism provision in the grant agreement” by hiring members of at least seven different families, including two of the executive director’s children and a child of the vice president of the board of directors, Chiu said in the statement.

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The Providence Foundation of San Francisco currently has multiple city grants, mostly through the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. It also receives city funding for operating a navigation center, an interim housing site, multiple housing subsidy and voucher programs, and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness.

City officials said the suspension did not automatically terminate the nonprofit’s current grant agreements with the city, but it may be grounds to cancel them. Monday’s action is not expected to have any effect on services.