Harbor House Ministries
Harbor House is a multi-ethnic Christian non-profit organization located in the diverse and vibrant San Antonio community of Oakland. For 35 years and counting we have worked with our community to create opportunities for individuals and families to become self-sufficient.
Started in 1972, Harbor House provides programs in education, economic development and spiritual development for youth and adults. Over 100,000 people have entered Harbor House’s doors in its thirty five year years of operation participating in the programs Harbor House offers.
We work through God’s grace and mercy to create positive, systemic change for individuals and our community.
Harbor House envisions a day when the San Antonio community is a neighborhood transformed by Christ, where individuals and families are healthy in mind, body, and spirit, justice reigns, and we all reach God’s purposes in our lives.
- Harbor House believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live well and thrive. Unfortunately, people in low-income communities face barriers to such opportunities. Harbor House emphasizes holistic ministry as the way to provide opportunities for people to fulfull their potential. We believe that every area of human need is important and requires an appropriate response for the well-being of the individual and the community. Harbor House is a Christian based nonprofit organization that believes in holistic ministry as lived and taught by Jesus Christ.
Olive Freeman, a school teacher in Oakland and member of First Covenant Church of Oakland, began Harbor House Ministries out of the trunk of her car. For her students and their families, she gathered books, food, clothing, and offered tutoring. Soon she was joined by the local baker, mailman, railroad worker, and more volunteers. Harbor House was originally incorporated as East Bay National Association of Evangelicals Inner City Ministries. Despite the name change, Harbor House has been carrying out the same mission from the beginning — to bring God’s love to the people of Oakland by meeting spiritual, physical, and educational needs.
In the past 35 years, Harbor House has served more than 100,000 people in spiritual, economic, and educational development. Over the years, programs developed from backyard tutoring to a formalized tutoring program; volunteer-led English classes for adults to a professional ESL program; emergency food and clothing distributed from boxes on shelves to a fully stocked kitchen and thrift store; out-of-neighborhood kids clubs to an in-house after-school program; teens hanging out to teens working as interns; people asking for work to Harbor House developed businesses and work opportunities; one-at-a-time spiritual mentoring to Bible Studies led by volunteers and chaplaincy work; playground games to organized sports for kids; and a published book, Our World: The Children of Oakland.
Originally in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, Harbor House moved to a larger site in the neighboring San Antonio District in 1990. The current building is 100 years old and has been designated as historic with the Oakland Heritage Survey. Before being owned by Harbor House, the building had previously been the San Antonio Boys Home, the Seventh Day Adventist Northern California Headquarters, and a large private residence. The hundreds of thousands of people who have either resided at this house or come through its doors gave the inspiration for our 35th anniversary theme, ‘Opening Doors to God’s Love’.