Mission and History

Harbor House is a Christian community development organization in Oakland, California.  Our mission is to provide a safe place for opportunities, resources, and relationships to be shared so that children, teens, and families may flourish.  

For five decades, Harbor House has served thousands of families through high quality programs that nurture heart, soul, mind, and body. Olive Freeman, a fourth grade teacher in Oakland, noticed that some of her students lacked basic necessities. Compelled by her love of Jesus, Mrs. Freeman responded by gathering food, clothing, and books and handing them out from the trunk of her car. She also began tutoring her students after school. After a while, the local baker and postal carrier joined her in their spare time, followed by other volunteers from Mrs. Freeman's church. They raised funds, prayed, and in time were able to purchase a large Victorian house on the corner of 18th Street and 11th Avenue in the San Antonio district of Oakland. 

Harbor House Ministries incorporated as a non-profit in 1972. What started as one woman responding to needs in the community is now a multifaceted community development organization offering hope to hundreds of families each year.


Our three core values act as strategic anchors as we make decisions about our programming.  

  • Centered On Jesus

    In response to the love, compassion, and Good News that we receive from Jesus, we serve our neighbors for His glory and share His great love. 

  • RElational

    Knowing that all people need healthy, safe, and caring relationships to thrive, we create spaces for the development of mutually beneficial relationships which break down racial, ethnic, and economic barriers.  

  • empowering

    All people are created in the image of God with gifts to share.  We celebrate the value, talents, and dignity of our neighbors and deliver services in a way that empowers participants.