An employee at a San Francisco homeless agency allegedly shot someone while on a break during a shift outside a homeless shelter run by the fast-growing Urban Alchemy nonprofit in November 2022.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Joseph Perry was arrested and charged with attempted murder, great bodily injury, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharge of a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a felon, among other felonies. He has been in custody since December.
Perry was fired from Urban Alchemy after he did not return to work at the 250-bed homeless shelter the day after the incident. He was on an unpaid 15-minute-break during a shift at the shelter when the incident occurred.
Urban Alchemy learned of Perry's alleged involvement in the November 3 incident after the police informed them in January that he had been arrested. The city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Services corroborated the claim.
Kirkpatrick Tyler, Urban Alchemy’s chief of community affairs said in a statement that Perry was a long-time employee of another nonprofit homeless agency called Five Keys and was recently hired at Urban Alchemy.
Tyler said, “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our community, and while this (arrest) was in no way connected to other UA staff or 711 Post Guest, we approached it with the seriousness and sensitivity we know it deserves.”
According to the outlet, as of 2022, Urban Alchemy had over 1,000 employees, the majority of which are people of color coming out of prison. The organization has received millions of dollars in contracts from San Francisco, other cities and private entities to operate homeless services, clean the streets, and drug use intervention.