San Francisco Homeless Resource

Maitri Compassionate Care

401 Duboce Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94117-3551


Maitri is one of San Francisco’s most respected and valued resources in providing care to people severely debilitated by AIDS. Our current home on Duboce Avenue opened in 1997 after ten years as a residential hospice on Hartford Street. Maitri is licensed as a RCFCI (Residential Care Facility for the Chronically Ill), and offers an innovative, multi-focal program designed to meet the changing needs of people living with AIDS in a dignified and caring manner.

The two types of care offered at Maitri are:

  • hospice care
  • short term medical stabilization

Maitri’s comprehensive program includes these main components:

  • Access to multi-disciplinary care professionals including nurses, attendants, social workers, physicians, and psychiatrists
  • Single-occupancy room in a facility designed as a healing space, nurturing home, and functional dwelling
  • Spiritual and pastoral support
  • Emotional and practical support volunteers
  • Activities including art therapy, meditation, and body work
  • Home-cooked meals by a stellar kitchen staff and individual dietary plans to meet specific needs

Whom We Serve

Maitri serves people severely debilitated by HIV/AIDS who are in need of either hospice care or 24-hour nursing care. Our goal is to provide a supportive, nurturing environment in which they can live life to the fullest. We are constantly inspired by our residents' courage and love of life. They teach us about setting priorities in our lives.

Admissions Information[]

Admissions Policy

If you or a loved one, friend, or client would like more information about becoming a Maitri resident, please contact Daniel, our Intake Coordinator, at 415-558-3007 or email.

Admissions Criteria

Prospective residents should meet the following general admissions criteria:

  • have an AIDS diagnosis or disabling HIV
  • be a San Francisco resident
  • be 18 years or order
  • have 24-hour care need, skilled care need, or hospice care need
  • have annual income of less than $31,950
  • accept admissions agreement
  • have chest x-ray for TB within one month prior to admission

Admissions Application word | pdf

Mission Statement[]

Maitri's Mission Statement

No one should have to suffer or die alone. Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice or 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers.

At Maitri, we strive to provide the type of care that each of us would like to receive at the end of our lives – care that is dignified, non-judgmental, unconditional. We hold dear the principle that each resident has the right to determine the degree of choice and awareness with which to experience life and death.


Our History

Maitri came into existence in 1987, when the Zen teacher Issan Dorsey of the Hartford Street Zen Center took in a homeless student dying of AIDS. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro district, Maitri soon grew to become a model eight-bed hospice, a place of solace in a community ravaged by AIDS. As the dynamics of the pandemic changed – new drugs had helped reduce mortality but increased the number of patients living with severe debilitations – Maitri responded flexibly by doubling its capacity and extending care to non-hospice patients. This program expansion coincided with Maitri’s relocation to a state-licensed, custom-designed facility in late 1997. Maitri’s Board of Directors received the Citibank Community Stewardship Award for its vision, foresight and tenacity in seeing this project to completion.

A Brief Note About Maitri’s Founder

“AIDS wakes us up to the fact that life is fatal. It’s not AIDS that’s fatal, if you have AIDS you’re alive.” - Issan Dorsey

Described as “magnetic, magnanimous and luminous,” Issan (Tommy) Dorsey, the colorful founder of Maitri, created a caring community for hundreds of men and women with AIDS, and left behind a legacy of wisdom and compassion that continues to inspire us today. Issan himself died at Maitri of AIDS-related lymphoma in 1990.

From drug-addled drag queen to Zen master, Issan’s life reflected his innate ability to “charm people senseless.” He left a group of followers devoted to deal with whatever came to the door – “We started the hospice because death came to the door.”

For more details about Issan’s life, see Street Zen by David Schneider, Shambala Publications, 1993.

Our People

Maitri employs a small staff housed in the same building as the 15 patient rooms. This allows for a high degree of interaction between staff and residents in their meals, social activities and daily lives, and is the most rewarding aspect of working here. We also enjoy the friendship and dedicated services of many volunteers, including our board members. Our staff and volunteers actively participate in benefit events and resident activities. We are a tight-knit community and relish the opportunity to be professionally and personally involved with such a caring and venerated organization.

Staff Information[]

Maitri’s administrative and program (including direct care) staff work hand in hand to make sure that our residents are well cared for, the building is clean, nourishing food is on the table, bills get paid, and people feel at home. Though often we are busy and work may be stressful, the presence of our residents remind us to slow down, breathe deeply, and appreciate our health, our lives, and the people around us.

Administrative & Program Staff

Maitri is blessed with a dedicated and experienced group of professionals. If you would like to know more about what we do, please drop us an email or call our main number at (415) 558-3000.

Administration Staff

Michael Smithwick Executive Director (415) 558-3001

Dr. Anthony Adessa

Director of Development (415) 558-3002

Bill Vigna Finance Director

Jim Piechota Office Manager/Assistant Network Administrator (415) 558-3011

Grant Sun Development Manager (415) 558-3003

Program Staff

Mary Schroeder Program Director (415) 558-3006

Daniel Hill Intake Coordinator/ Assistant Program Director (415) 558-3007

Ann Kong Executive Chef

Avital Rachmany Sous Chef

Melissa Prince-Giacopazzi, Jason Park, Ann Tonai;&nbsp Chefs/Cooks

Helga Sigvaldadottir Facilities Manager

Ines DeLazarte and Paul Kelley Facility Superintendents

Fran Blau Social Work Case Manager

Melanie Bien&nbsp Social Work Case Manager

Stan Stone Volunteer & Activities Coordinator (415) 558-3004

Medical Staff

Grace Molyneaux Director of Nursing Services John Mullin Medical Support Services Coordinator