The U.S. Census Bureau counted 120 homeless people in Davis in 2004. This is a comprehensive guide to hungry/homeless resources in Davis and the surrounding communities.

Common places to find homeless people include various storefronts and the Nishi Property among others.


Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs serves free vegetarian meals every Sunday around 1:00PM at the bench in the center of Central Park. "It's not charity; it's a protest!" is their slogan. This is the best food anywhere, at the best price. The plates sometimes have a little grease film on them, so you may wish to wash yours or bring your own plate. It isn't nearly enough to be a health hazard though. The food is almost always vegan, meaning no egg or dairy products are used as well as no meat. Most of the people eating here appreciate the absence of meat, but a few want meat. The 'almost' refers to the occasions when prepared meat items were donated to them, and they passed them on.

FNB in many cities has a history of abuse from the police. Happily, there have not been any confrontation with the authorities in Davis for a long time. So you may eat in peace.

Davis Community Meals

Davis Community Meals serves two free meals every week at The Episcopal Church of St. Martin: dinner on Tuesdays at 5:45PM and lunch on Saturdays at 11:30AM. The day's menu is posted at the head of the serving area, which is served cafeteria style, sort of. Once you get to the head of the queue, the servers pick up a tray and pass it down the line as each server asks you whether you want that particular food item or not. They insist on holding your tray until the end (this is stupid, but whatever). The tables are pre-set with silverware and a napkin, so you just sit down and eat. There are always empty spots. Juice is available at lunch and 6 ounce cartons of 2% milk at dinner. The food is middle-of-the-road American fare, never anything "gourmet" or "ethnic" as that would cause problems among those with "less sophisticated palates". There's always meat, but the meals are not meat-based. In other words, there's a bit of meat, but not a lot of meat. There are always several vegetarian items. They always have a large selection of single-serving desserts, such as pie, cake, brownies, etc. In the summertime the lunches are served and eaten outdoors. As expected, the evening meal is larger and offers more choices than the lunchtime meal. After everyone has been served, you may return for seconds if you wish (I rarely do this, as one almost always gets enough the first time through). This place deserves points for being a "no questions asked" place. Just show up, stand in line, get your food, and eat. This is a safe, peaceful place; no need to worry about that. There is no proselytizing, however you will be subjected to live piano and/or violin music and tap dancing. About 60 people eat at the Thursday meal.


H.E.L.P. (Help & Education Leading to Prevention) is a student-run community service club at UCD that was established in 2007. They are "dedicated to promoting awareness of poverty and preventing it through community involvement". They serve two weekly meals for the homeless and low-income individuals around Davis. The first meal is on Monday evenings at 6 pm at the Cesar Chavez Development on Olive Drive (next to Lexington Apts), and the second meal is on Thursday evenings at 6 pm at The Episcopal Church of St. Martin. They cook and serve the meals on-site and usually there is plenty of food available to take home. These meals are served restaurant style where the plates are personally brought to the guests in the main dining room by an enthusiastic and friendly college student staff.

Davis Community Church

Friday Faith and Food is offered each Friday at Davis Community Church  It is a nutritious meal, hospitality and optional communion.

Food Closet

This is operated out of the Pole Line Road Baptist Church. It is available Thursdays, 9am-11am [530/753-4315]. They provide "canned goods and staple food items to families; snack type food to transients" according to this. On Wednesdays, starting at 10:30 am until gone, they distribute fresh produce; a $1.00 donation is suggested but not required.

Grace in Action

Grace in Action is an ecumenical foundation that provides food, social services, and, optionally, Christian fellowship. Currently, the major public outreach programs take place at the United Methodist Church of Davis on Mondays and Pole Line Road Baptist Church on Wednesdays. On Tuesdays, there is mobile outreach that meets with people throughout the community. GIA volunteeers are very warm and friendly, though they will insist that you sign in and tell them about yourself.


The Short Term Emergency Aid Committee distributes free food and clothing to individuals once a month (and at other times on an emergency basis). You must get "in the system" to use this. This means you will have a "case worker." You can apply at either the Davis Community Meals shelter [1111 H Street] or at the Davis Community Church; food and clothes are distributed from Grace House.

Holiday Meal, Annual

The annual Holiday Meal is sponsored by a number of community businesses and is held annually on December 24th.


Transitional Housing Facility & Resource Center

Davis Community Meals operates a shelter with less than a dozen beds at 1111 H Street. This transitional home for families provides clients with resources such as showers, computer access and laundry amenities; they also provide one-night vouchers for the Davis Cold Weather Shelter described below. Beware: they will photograph you, check your identification and file this with the police if you request to stay there. After three days they require a tuberculosis screening too. (Note: They will not accept client mail at the shelter; clients may receive personal mail at P.O. Box 72871, Davis 95617.) The H Street shelter is part of the Davis Community Meals program and often needs volunteers to staff the front desk. Food donations are very welcome.

  • office: (530)753-9204
  • client phone: (530)753-8942
  • fax: (530)753-3818

Cold Weather Shelter & Transitional Housing

(This program has been discontinued. May re-start in the future.)

Davis Community Meals also operates a shelter at 512 Fifth Street with ten beds set up to accommodate eight men and two women. During warm months, this facility serves as transitional housing for families in need. During cold weather months [no earlier than November and no later than the close of April], it operates solely as a cold weather shelter with opening and closing dates dependent upon weather.

As a cold weather shelter, this facility is open from 6pm-8am, with clients asked to leave by 7:30am to allow volunteers to clean the facility; there is currently no limit to the number of nights a client may stay. Clients are not permitted to leave and return after check-in, except to smoke in designated outdoor areas — clients must check in by 8pm. Three staff members remain on site from 6pm-11pm and two staff members until 8am the following morning. Shelter clients are provided with a bed and food during their stay but are served only limited meals such as canned soup for dinner and coffee and pastries for breakfast. Clients arriving under the influence of drugs are not turned away unless they are believed to be a nuisance or pose a threat to either themselves or other clients. Clients must agree to shelter rules, including restrictions on loitering during closed hours, consumption of drugs and alcohol on site, weapons possession, etc. Clients must obtain a voucher earlier in the day to reserve a space at the cold weather shelter, and should contact Davis Community Meals at 1111 H Street for voucher information — vouchers are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; alternatively Davis police officers can refer individuals to the shelter. This facility has had only one theft reported during the 2006 season, and can be considered a safe facility.

Yolo Wayfarer Center (in Woodland)

Yolo Wayfarer Center [238 W Beamer St, Woodland, 530-661-1218] is a rescue mission serving the homeless of Yolo County by offering daily meals, substance abuse treatment, year-round shelter and transitional housing; this is the only year-round emergency shelter in Yolo County. Weekday dinners are served from 5:30pm-6:00pm, while just one meal is served from 3:00pm-3:30pm on weekends; groceries are distributed Mondays at 9:00am. The mission also provides laundry, showers, counseling and various vouchers (food, clothes, etc.). Holiday baskets are available for both Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as community meals on those days; during Thanksgiving dinner, coats are distributed by the Salvation Army. Community members wishing to receive a Thanksgiving food basket must sign up at the Department of Employment & Social Services [25 North Cottonwood St., Woodland] or at Broderick Christian Center in West Sacramento — please check the website for signup dates. During the winter months [November –March], the cold weather shelter is available to both homeless individuals and families and requires all clients to be drug-free and sober; check in is at 7:30pm with lights out at 10:00pm — clients are awakened at 6:00am.


Short Term Emergency Aid Committee distributes motel vouchers for emergency shelter and can also provide cash to prevent community members from losing their existing shelter/utilities or to cover move-in costs for long-term shelter.

Cal Expo Winter Shelter Program

Those unable to find shelter in Yolo County or Davis may wish to find transport to Cal Expo [Exposition Blvd. & Ethan] in Sacramento, where Sacramento County offers winter shelter with meals to homeless individuals and families beginning around Thanksgiving. The Winter Shelter Program accommodates immediate shelter needs of the homeless when other local shelters are full. Volunteers of America administer the program under contract to the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance in partnership with Cal Expo.

During the winter of 2006, the Cal Expo Winter Shelter will remain open until March 31, 2007. Clients will be housed in the former “Paradise Island” at Cal Expo — this space has been completely renovated with new dorms, new linens for each bed, new furniture for gender-separate lounge areas and a large dining area. The shelter can house up to 154 people each night; a valid tuberculosis clearance is required within three days of shelter admittance and clients may stay up to for fourteen days with extensions granted on a case-by-case basis. Community members needing shelter must register 3pm-5pm on weekdays or by 1:30pm on weekends at the following locations: men should register at Salvation Army [1200 North B Street] while women & children should register at Loaves & Fishes [1321 North C Street]. Volunteers of America will provide transportation to and from the shelter where clients will be served two meals daily — clients can expect to arrive at the shelter between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. Operating in conjunction with this Winter Shelter Program, the Salvation Army will have an additional 32 beds for single women and Volunteers of America [1590 North A Street] will have 20 beds for single men.

Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter

The Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter is a multi-faith collaboration enabling member congregations to provide winter shelter and hospitality in their facilities on a rotating basis to persons who are homeless in the Davis, CA community.


Davis H.O.P.E

Davis H.O.P.E is an organization created by UC Davis students to help the homeless by providing education on subjects ranging from basic health-care to topics like computer skills and G.E.D tutoring. Davis H.O.P.E provides its lessons with the help of the Davis Community Meals Resource Center. More information on the program and how to volunteer can be found at

National Housing Database for Homeless & Low-Income

Shelter Listings is a registered non-profit maintaining a housing database specifically for the homeless and low-income. The database consists of over 2,600 listings nation-wide and is made up of homeless shelters, emergency shelters, transitional housing, residential drug/alcohol rehabilitation programs and permanent affordable housing.


The Spare Changer

The Spare Changer is a locally-published homeless-advocate newspaper. The Spare Changer is published by "Lawson" and sold by himself and "Robert". The retail price is $2.50 as of 2009. Note that this is not a street newspaper as it is not free to homeless people, nor intended to be sold by a profit by homeless people, nor published, nor sold by homeless individuals.


Free Unitrans passes (good in perpetuity) for seniors and disabled persons can be acquired at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A Street. Inquire at the front desk. No proof or ID required. Yolobus passes (good for about a year) are distributed on an as-needed basis from the DCN shelter.

Voice Mail

Community Voice Mail offers free voicemail to the homeless.



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We dropped off left-over burgers, chips, salad, etc. to Davis Community Meals from a potluck and everyone was very appreciative. -JanelleAlvstadMattson

  • Food Not Bombs also appreciates food donations. Either contact us or bring it to our weekly serving.

2010-10-01 16:51:50   Prompted by remembering my run-in with "The Crying Girl", I thought about homeless who were real.

A while back in Denver one evening, I a young girl who sniffled and cried a bit I bought a bus ticket to her home back in Florida. She was begging for change and said she didn't have much more time before she had to run because the shelter was going to close up for the night. She was quite happy to walk to the station with me and get the ticket I bought her. I also got her a sandwich that she gratefully accepted. She had run away from home thinking it would be better and it wasn't. Her mom would take her back, she just thought it was so dreadfully boring at her home in Florida.

I've given a few bucks to a couple of the homeless regulars downtown Davis, but mostly just talk to them once in a while about this and that. They are human beings after all. There's Kevin, the big crew-cut guy who is in and out of rehab, in and out of living in a storage locker or an apartment, once in a while lays up in the bushes. These days he's working. When he's not using, he's a good person. If he's on ecstasy he's quite fun and philosophical, very friendly. If he's on meth ...

I don't remember the name of the older guy with the dog. But he's very friendly and pleasant. Doesn't seem to be an alky or a user, I couldn't figure him out. —YogaBhoga

2010-12-20 23:40:34   As a member of the homeless community I feel obligated to respond to the comment by YogaBhoga. First, The "Kevin" you mention is not homeless. He in NO way represents the homeless population of Davis. Further more, he is a threat to EVERYONE in our community. He is responsible for the death of a 17-year-old c. 1985. He has been charged with felony reckless child endangerment (the child aged 4) in 1998, as well as felony assault on an off-duty, injured davis police officer. He forcefully took the officers crutches and proceeded to beat him with them. On two different occasions (2008 and 2010) he battered women he knew to be pregnant. During the summer of 2009 he beat and bloodied a 16-year-old boy, in what everyone hoped to be his third and final felony, only to have charges dismissed by the district attorney. In the summer of 2010 he beat a woman in her 50's in order to steal her bottle of whisky. Two female davis residents have sought and received orders of protection/no-contact orders. Court orders that he routinely violates. Even the Davis Police have expressed their frustration at his continued presence, and one officer expressed his desire to erase his presence from Davis altogether. It sickens me that this is the individual choses to prove the point that homeless people are "human". We are human. He is a monster —SmellyGroundHog

2011-07-07 13:56:31   I agree with what SmellyGroundhog has to say. Kevin is a danger to all and a prime example of our lazy police department and justice system. One police officer in davis remarked that "if I had the chance, i would hang him downtown for all to mock." —JustinYoder

2013-09-23 09:05:19   There is a homeless group apparently living in Community Park now, mostly next to the swimming pool across from the tennis courts, or else they hang there most of the day and find places to sleep elsewhere. I counted 10-15 at a time over this weekend, both days. I guess word is out that Davis is a nice place to come. They keep to themselves mostly, but I worry about "incidents" happening. A few have laptops. Most of this group seemed to be the high-end functional homeless. Their lives are organized, they have bikes and trailers. I think one of them is a grad student that I think I recognize. (No, not the freegan former grad student in transportation who seems to be mentally ill that was on Colbert.) A real grad student should have priority in Davis I guess. There's been several UC Davis students who have slept in tents to afford tuition - for years. And it was raining this weekend, and they need places to get out of the wet. The picnic table shelters work for that. Not sure how to respond to this. On the one hand, this bunch seemed like middle class people fallen on hard times. On the other hand, what's this going to turn into as word gets out about what a fine place Davis is to come? —YogaBhoga

2017-08-13 22:35:19   The problem with Davis, is the population of people, who may or may not be in need. The biggest problem with repeat offenses or people who can't reform after a good meal, and a nights rest, etc. is the agitation factor. The fact that being homeless, puts them on edge which leads them to threaten citizens, who are going about their day. Homeless shelters can offer so much, if these people continue to use drugs and alcohol to combat their problems or illness. —Tytruongjones30e