This well-regarded school provides a range of treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, tui ma/shiatsu massage, and herbal therapy, at its on-site clinics all priced according to a sliding scale and with discounts for students and seniors. The college also sends interns to specialty clinics around the Bay, including the Women's Community Clinic, Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, and St. James Infirmary.
St. James Infirmary (1372 Mission. 415-554-8494, www.stjamesinfirmary.org). Created for sex-workers and their partners, this Mission District clinic offers a range of services from primary care to massage and self-defense classes, for free. Bad ass.
Free Print Shop (www.freeprintshop.org): This fantabulous Webs site has charts showing access to free healthcare across the city, as well as free food, shelter, and help with neighborhood problems. If we haven't listed 'em, Free Print Shop has. Tell a friend.
Native American Health Center (160 Capp, 415-621-8051, www.nativehealth.org). Though geared towards Native Americans, this multifaceted clinic (dental! an Oakland locale, and an Alameda satellite!) turns no one away. Services are offered to the under-insured on a sliding scale as well as to those with insurance.
SF Free Clinic (4900 California, 415-750-9894, www.sffc.org). Those without any health insurance can get vaccinations, diabetes care, family planning assistance, STD diagnosis and treatment, well child care, and monitoring of acute and chronic medical problems.
Haight Ashbury Free Clinics (558 Clayton. 415-746-1950, www.hafci.org): Though available to all, these clinics are geared towards the uninsured, underinsured "working poor," the homeless, youth, and those with substance abuse and/or mental health issues. We love this organization not only for its day-to-day service, but for its low-income residential substance abuse recovery programs and its creation of RockMed, which provides free medical care at concerts and events. (Molly Freedenberg)
There's no reason to be ashamed to stay in the city's homeless shelters but proceed with awareness. Although most shelters take safety precautions and men and women sleep in separate areas, they're high-traffic places that house a true cross-section of the city's population.
The city shelters won't take you if you just show up you have to make a reservation. In any case, a reservation center should be your first stop anyway because they'll likely have other services available for you. If you're a first-timer, they'll want to enter you into the system and take your photograph. (You can turn down the photo-op.) Reservations can be made for up to seven days, after which you'll need to connect with a case manager to reserve a more permanent 30- or 60-day bed.
The best time to show up is first thing in the morning when beds are opening up, or late at night when beds have opened up because of no-show reservations. First thing in the morning means break of dawn people often start lining up between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. for the few open beds. Many people are turned away throughout the day, although your chances are better if you're a woman.
You can reserve a bed at one of several reservation stations: 150 Otis, Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (165 Capp St.), Tenderloin Resource Center (187 Golden Gate), Glide (330 Ellis), United Council (2111 Jennings), and the shelters at MSC South (525 Fifth St.) and Hospitality House (146 Leavenworth). If it's late at night, they may have a van available to give you a ride to the shelter.