Free Medical Equipment In San Francisco: How And Where To Get It


If you know where to look, there is plenty of free medical equipment in, and around, San Francisco.

This article contains a list of organizations both private and state run, online websites with free equipment posted by private individuals near you, places to buy cheap used equipment, and instructions on how to apply where necessary.

In San Francisco, you can get free home medical equipment from –

  • the Ability Tools Assistive Technology Program
  • AT Exchange
  • reuse, recycling and refurbishing centers, such as “Recares”, “ILR of Solano and Contra Costa Counties” or “The Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers”
  • centers for independent living, such as the “Independent Living Resource Center, San Francisco”
  • community medical equipment loan closets, such as “A Soldier’s Dove” or “NorCal SCI”
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare, but not free
  • the VA
  • senior centers

You can also find free used medical equipment in San Francisco, using online platforms and social media sites such as –

  • Craigslist.com
  • usedHME.com
  • Freecycle.org
  • Facebook.com
  • Nextdoor.com
  • OfferUp.com
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links

Free medical equipment from Ability Tools, the State Assistive Technology Program


“ABILITY TOOLS” the California State Assistive Technology Program is responsible for developing access for the community to “assistive technology devices”.

Home medical equipment can be considered to be assistive technology devices, as they are devices which help you to accomplish tasks of daily living, which you otherwise could not accomplish such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes, living aids etc.

The California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition, is contracted by Ability Tools to help it achieve a large part of its work.

The CATRC – is a coalition of “Reuse Programs”.

CATRC coalition members collect and refurbish used medical equipment, which, with Ability Tools, they then redistribute to individuals in need.

“The reuse programs accept donations of assistive technology devices and medical equipment, repair, and sanitize them, and then offer them to people with disabilities for free, or at low cost.” – Source here.


ABILITY TOOLS offers to those in need –

  • free short term loans home medical equipment
  • free long short term loans of home medical equipment
  • lend home medical equipment indefinitely for free


Just as a footnote, you can also purchase, at a great reduced price, refurbished durable medical equipment, if you do not qualify for free equipment.

The Ability Tools AT Exchange


Ability Tools has an online Assistive Technology Exchange.

The participating CATRC members, post their inventories of  the refurbished used medical equipment on the AT Exchange, so that everyone can see what is available – the different reuse centers and the general public.

Anyone can take a look at what is posted on the AT Exchange.

The Assistive Technology Exchange is here – http://abilitytools.org/services/at-exchange-transition.php

I have an illustrated article with instructions on how to use the AT Exchange included, “Free Medical Equipment In California: How And Where To Get It”.

Free medical equipment from the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition


The CATRC website is here.

To find out if you qualify for free, or low cost durable medical equipment on a loan or a permanent basis, just contact the CATRC center in your area.

Below, I have listed the CATRC Reuse Center for San Francisco.

ReCares (formerly Home Cares)


ReCares collects “gently” used medical equipment.

ReCares has equipment such as

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • adult briefs
  • shower chairs
  • tub/transfer benches
  • chux (disposable underpads)


The main ReCares center addresst –

2619 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 510 251 2273


Give them a call to find out how you qualify for free equipment.

The website situation extremely confusing, as there is one website called “homecares.org” (their previous name), and a new one called “recares.net”, but the second is “under construction” and asks you to use the website with the old name !

Website: http://homecares.org 

They also have satellite offices

The alleyway of 63 Dorland St
Dorland St
San Francisco,
CA 94110

Phone: 415 487 5405

No website


Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers

3100 Kerner Blvd
San Rafael,
Ca 94901

Phone: 415 388 8198

Website: https://marinmer.org/

The Marin Medical Equipment Recyclers site offers –

  • wheelchairs
  • companion chairs
  • transfer benches
  • shower chairs
  • orthopedic supports
  • blood pressure machines
  • nebulizers
  • canes
  • crutches
  • commodes
  • walkers
  • grabbers
  • wedge pillows
  • therapeutic cushions

Ability Tools Device Lending and Demo Center for San Francisco


Ability Tools operates a Device Lending and Demonstration Center in San Francisco.

The center provides “short term loans” (up to 30 days) of assistive technology devices.

The Device Lending and Demonstration Center in San Francisco is –


Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)

825 Howard St, Street Level,

San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: 415 543 6222

Website: https://www.ilrcsf.org/get-support/assistive/

Centers for Independent Living (CILS) In San Francisco


Centers for Independent Living, or CIL’s, provide the support and services required by people with disabilities so that they may live independently in the community.

CIL’s maintain free medical equipment loan closets for their members.

If you are disabled, you can become a member of a CIL, and gain access to their support and services.

There is one CIL in San Francisco, I have listed it below.



Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)

825 Howard St, Street Level,

San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone: 415 543 6222

Website: https://www.ilrcsf.org/get-support/assistive/


If you are looking for other CIL’s in the Bay Area, you can find them all here –


Free medical equipment loan closets in San Francisco


Loan closets are very often hidden away in their communities, and a resource that not too many people are aware of.

I have only been able to find 2 in San Francisco, but there are doubtless many more, which is why I will keep pointing out places you should be asking about them, throughout this article.

Here are the two that I have been able to find so far.


A Soldier’s Dove

An SF Bay Area nonprofit organization which gifts sanitized, and repaired, gently used medical equipment to non and under-insured individuals in need.

A Soldier’s Dove gifts items such as –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • bedside commodes
  • shower chairs
  • wheelchair cushions
  • canes
  • quad canes
  • other bathroom safety equipment


To find out if you are eligible for their help, you can use the contact info below –

You can also email at – asoldiersdove@gmail.com


Phone: 650 590 9111




NorCal SCI (Northern California Spinal Injury)

Here you will find used medical equipment such as –

  • power wheelchairs (no older than 3 yrs)
  • manual wheelchairs
  • walkers


NorCal SCI has an online gallery of free equipment where they post donated equipment here.

Equipment is given to individuals who have made a request for particular items, and are in need.

To request equipment, you  go to this website page here.

You can contact NorCal SCI by email –  info@norcalsci.org .

Website: https://norcalsci.org/

Phone: 408 458 9863



Senior Centers in the San Francisco area


Senior Centers often have a member’s only free medical equipment loan closet.

Even so, Senior Centers and their members will be a mine of information about what is available in the community.

I would check with Senior Centers nearest to you, and find out if there are any free community medical equipment loan closets in the area that they are aware of.

American Asian Society
778 Clay St,San Francisco, CA 94108,
415 397 8322
Bayview Senior Center
1753 Carroll Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124
415 822 1444
Canon Kip Senior Center
705 Natoma Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
415 487 3300
Castro Senior Center
110 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
415 863 3507
Curry Senior Center
333 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 885 2274
Doelger Senior Center
101 Lake Merced Boulevard, Daly City, CA 94015
650 991 8012
Filipino Senior Resource Center
953 Mission Street #61, SanFrancisco,CA 94103
415 278 0484
Golden Gate Park Senior Center
6101 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
415 666 7079
Jackie Chan Senior Center
5757 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121
415 677 7571
John King Senior Community
500 Raymond Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134
415 337 6533
JCCCNC (Iseei Memoria Hall) 1st Floor, 1840 such as Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
415 931 2287
Lady Shaw Senior Center
1483 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
415 677 7572
Leland-Polk Senior Community
1315 Polk Street #1, SanFrancisco, CA 94109
415 931 3210
Magnolia Senior Center
601 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080
650 829 3820
Neighborhood Elders Support
513 Courtland Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110
415 206 9177
Noe Valley Senior Center
1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
415 648 1030
National Council On Aging
817 Market Street #785, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 955 8560
OMI Senior Center | Catholic Charities
65 Beverly St, San Francisco, CA 94132
415 334 5550
On Lok 30th Street Senior Center
225 30th Street, third floor, San Francisco, CA 94131
415 550 2210
Richmond Senior Center
6221 Geary Boulevard #3, San Francisco, CA 94121
415 752 6444
Rosa Parks Senior Center
1111 Buchanan Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
415 292 3474
San Francisco Office of Aging
875 Stevenson Street #3, San Francisco, CA 94103
415 355 3555
San Francisco Senior Center
481 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 771 7950
Self Help For The Elderly
848 Kearny St # 306, San Francisco, CA 94108
415 398 3250
Self Help For The Elderly
1583 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133
415 677 7581
St Francis Living Room
350 Goldengate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 946 1413
Sunset Senior Center
1290 5th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122
415 759 9507
The Salvation Army Chinatown Corps Community Center
1450 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
415 781 7360
Verne S Doxey Inc
220 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94104
415 921 0644
Western Addition Senior Citizens
1390 1/2 Turk Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
415 921 7805

Veteran Centers in the San Francisco area and Bay area


If you don’t know your entitlements as a veteran, here are the Veteran Centers in San Francisco

The Veteran Centers may know of, or have members who know of, community medical equipment loan closets with free equipment in your area.

San Francisco Vet Center
505 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415 441 5051
San Francisco VA medical Center
4150 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
415 221 4810
Marin County Veteran's Office
10 North San Pedro Rd., Suite 1010, San Rafael, CA 94903
415 441 5051
Oakland Vet Center
7700 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 94621
510 562 7906
Peninsula Vet Center
795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
650 614 9825
Concord Vet Center
1333 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94520-7931
925 680 4526
North Bay Vet Center
6010 Commerce Blvd., Rohnert Park, CA 94928-5007
707 586 5966

Free medical equipment online near me in San Francisco


Finding free home medical equipment online, near you in San Francisco, is pretty quick and easy, I have even seen a person offering a free hospital bed in working condition on Facebook.

That said, you do have to be careful about who you are dealing with, and to check the equipment thoroughly before using it.

Before I dive into the individual sites and their differences, there are several points to be made about using online listings, and picking up free items –

1) If you look after an elderly, vulnerable person, it’s not a great idea to have strangers dropping off items at your home.

Arrange to pick items up at coffee shops, malls, or other public spaces.

2) Have another person go along with you to collect the free equipment, if you feel you may be at all vulnerable.

3) Spam – don’t use your main personal email on listing sites, as your email can get inundated with spam emails by spambots who browse sites looking for email addresses to hit. So just create a new email for answering advertisement listings.

4) Scammers – people will offer items for free, using it as a pretext to attempt to  add on all kinds of charges, so do be aware of that.

You can easily find free home medical equipment on the following sites –


  • Craigslist.com
  • Freecycle.org
  • UsedHME.com
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Nextdoor.com
  • OfferUp

Free used medical equipment near me in San Francisco, on Craigslist

On Craigslist, you can post local advertisements, and search for items in your area of San Francisco.

They even have a category “free stuff” to make our lives easier ! And when you search in “free stuff”, you can enter the type of equipment you are looking for into the search bar, and get quick results.

It’s available on all devices, and there is no membership required.

To see how to do a local search for free equipment, here my quick illustrated article – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Craigslist ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Craigslist listings page

Screenshot example of a  Craigslist garage sale page

Free Used Medical Equipment near me in San Francisco, on FreeCycle.org


On Freecycle people  join a group, or groups in their area, giving them access to all the items being gifted in those groups – there is no buying or selling, everything is given away for free.

It is as local as your nearest group in San Francisco.

A person can join as many groups as will accept them (usually all the groups they ask to join), and it is all free.

There is also no need to wait for an item to be offered in the group, as you can request items within the groups of which you are a member. So the more groups you join, the greater your chances of finding what you are looking for.

Here’s my quick illustrated article on how to find free used home medical equipment near you on Freecycle.org if you want to learn more – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Freecycle.org ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Freecyle.org page

Used medical equipment for sale or free, near me in San Francisco, on usedHME.com


UsedHME stands for – Used Home Medical Equipment, as this is a website exclusively for advertisements selling, buying and donating used home medical equipment.

A great deal of the stuff advertised is free, making it a very easy site to search on, as you won’t have to wade your way through tons of irrelevant stuff.

You won’t need a membership, and it is all free

You can do searches for free equipment in your zip code in San Francisco, or further afield.

Here’s my quick illustrated guide on how to get free used home medical equipment on UsedHME.com here – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On UsedHME.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

 Free used medical equipment near me in San Francisco, on Facebook


You are going to have to get a Facebook account to find any free equipment near to you in San Francisco on Facebook, but it is free and easy to do.

As soon as you have an account/membership, you can search free items in your area, or further afield –

  • on buying and selling groups
  • on the Facebook Marketplace

Facebook has search settings which will make it very easy to do local searches.

Here’s my quick illustrated guide on how to do find free durable medical equipment near you in San Francisco – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Facebook ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Facebook Marketplace page

Free used medical equipment near me in San Francisco, on Nextdoor.com


In San Francisco, you will also find free items are offered on the social media platform Nextdoor.com.

The members in this case, though, are your neighbors in your area of San Francisco, so all the free stuff is in your neighborhood.

It is available on desktop and mobile – just download the app for mobile.

Here’s my illustrated guide on how to use Nextdoor.com to find free durable medical equipment near to you – “How To Get Free Medical Equipment Near Me On Nextdoor.com ? A Quick Illustrated Guide”

Screenshot of Nextdoor.com “All Listings” page

Free used medical equipment near me in San Francisco, on OfferUp


OfferUp is an app which is dedicated to off-loading items you don’t use, and passing them on to others.

It is a “mobile first” platform, it is available on desktop as well, just go to the website OfferUpcom.

It is free to join and use OfferUp.

For mobile, you download the app, and you are ready to go straight away.

You use the settings to look in for items in your area of San Francisco, by restricting the searches to pick-ups only.

The video below, on using OfferUp, explains everything perfectly. Just watch the video !


Getting free medical equipment with Medicaid in California


Medi-Cal is California’s state Medicaid program, and its lead agency is The Department of Health Care Services, which you can find – here.

It gives medical coverage to the individuals and families with the lowest incomes.

Coverage it provides can be free, but is also low-cost health coverage for some.

Medi-Cal does cover physical and occupational therapy and “devices” i.e. durable medical equipment, as one of its “essential health benefits”.

A person is covered if  the medical equipment – 

  • they require is “medically necessary”
  • is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
  • satisfies their medical needs


The types of durable medical equipment covered by Medi-Cal include –

  • wheelchairs
  • canes
  • crutches
  • grab bars
  • walkers
  • hospital beds
  • oxygen therapy equipment
  • augmentative communication devices


To find out more, take a look at “Obtaining Assistive Technology through Medi-Cal” here.

Another informative article is “An Advocate’s guide to Medi-Cal Service”, January 2020, here.

Medi-Cal Programs specifically targeting the elderly and the disabled


Medi-Cal has programs targeting the elderly and the disabled called Medic-Cal waivers, which are also known as HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) programs or waivers.

On these programs or waivers, if Durable Medical Equipment or Assistive Devices are prescribed as “medically necessary” by the beneficiary’s medical provider, it is very often covered 100%.

The goal of these waivers is to enable the beneficiary to maintain their independence living at home, rather than being moved into a long term nursing facility.

The programs operate a limited number of places, and if a program is full, there will be a waiting list.

The Medi-Cal waivers are  –

Home and Community-Based Alternatives Waiver – read it here.

Self-Determination Program – read it here.

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) Waiver – read about this here.

The sources for this section on Medi-Cal are –

“Obtaining Assistive Technology Through Medi-Cal” – https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/system/files/file-attachments/558301.pdf

“Medi-Cal waivers – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/Medi-CalWaivers.aspx

The California Department of Health Care Services” – https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/

Can you get free home medical equipment with Medicare ?


In certain situations, Medicare Part B gives insurance coverage to home medical equipment, or as it is termed, durable medical equipment, but it is not at all free.

That said, in some cases you can make large savings with Medicare Part B coverage, if you qualify.

I have written an article outlining the rules, with examples of scenarios for differently priced pieces of equipment, so that you may see when it is worth using your Medicare Part B insurance to pay for home medical equipment.

That article is here, “Can You Get Free Medical Equipment With Medicare ?”

Where to ask about free medical equipment in your neighborhood in San Francisco


The following organizations all work with the elderly, the homeless and families in need in San Francisco, and have a wealth of knowledge due to all the services they run. I would go and talk with each one, to find out if they have any information about where I can get free home medical equipment –


  • The local Area Agency on Aging
  • Social Services in San Francisco
  • Lions Clubs
  • Rotary Clubs
  • The Catholic Charities of San Francisco
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco
  • The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of San Francisco
  • Lutheran Social Services Of Northern California (San Francisco County)
  • Your local church communities


Area Agency on Aging in San Francisco


The agencies for San Francisco are –

San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services

875 Stevenson St #3,

San Francisco,

CA 94103

Phone: 415 355 3555

The website  – https://www.sfhsa.org/about/departments/department-disability-and-aging-services-das

San Mateo County Area Agency on Aging


225 37th Ave,

San Mateo,

CA 94403

Phone: 650 573 3900

The website https://www.smchealth.org/services-aging-and-adult

Health and Social services in San Francisco


Human Services Agency of San Francisco

1440 Harrison St,

San Francisco,

CA 94103

Phone: 855 355 5757

Website: https://www.sfhsa.org/

Lions Clubs


If you find a club near you, you can ask if they know of a loan closet for free medical equipment.

I have a quick illustrated guide outlining how to find a Lions Club near you, which you can read here.


Rotary Clubs

The same applies for Rotary clubs, as applies to the Lions, so I would give a club near you a call and find out if any clubs have a medical equipment loan closet, or any other initiatives lending or donating free medical equipment to those in need.

The Rotary club locator tool will help you find a club near you.

I have another quick, illustrated guide on how to locate a Rotary Club near you, that you can read here – it’s a very quick and easy read.

The Catholic Charities of San Francisco


The Catholic Charities of San Francisco covers 3 areas –

  • Marin
  • San Francisco
  • San Mateo


1555 39th Ave,

San Francisco,

CA 94122

Phone: 415 972 1200


The Catholic Charities of San Francisco’s website is here – https://www.catholiccharitiessf.org/

Society of St. Vincent de Paul, San Francisco


If their thrift stores don’t have what you are looking for, they may be able to tell you who does.


1175 Howard St

San Francisco,

CA 94103

Phone: 415 977 1270


Website – https://svdp-sf.org/

The Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco



Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco

The Miriam Schultz Grunfeld Professional Building

2150 Post Street

San Francisco, CA 94115


Phone: 415 449 1200

Lutheran Social Services


Lutheran Social Services of Northern California (San Francisco County Offices)

191 Golden Gate Avenue,

San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: 415 581 0891


Website – https://www.lsssc.org/

Your local church or faith groups

Churches in your neighborhood, and the communities they have built up around them, are going to be a great place to ask about any free loan closets, as they very often run different initiatives themselves –

  • food banks
  • clothes loan closets
  • medical equipment loan closets

You will need to get out and to speak with people, as it isn’t all on the internet.


Where to get cheaper medical equipment in San Francisco ?


So, if you haven’t found anywhere to get free medical equipment, the financially your next best option may be to buy some gently used  equipment.

It is obviously going to be cheaper than new equipment, but the equipment it is going to require a thorough safety check.

Refurbishing centers will typically run safety checks on used home medical equipment, and then fix it up if needs be, but a thrift shop probably won’t do anything at all. They will sell the items “as is”.

Do check whether any equipment you want to buy has been sanitized, checked for safety and if they guarantee it at all, if you buy from a thrift store.

Cheap used medical equipment at Goodwill Stores in the San Francisco


All items in Goodwill stores are sold “as is”, and the Goodwill stores don’t accept any liability for breaks, or the consequences of that.

Goodwill stores only accept items if they are clean and gently used, but they don’t do any work, or sanitizing, before the items are put on sale, so you need to inspect their condition thoroughly.

Not all Goodwill stores accept home medical equipment, so it’s a good idea to call the stores in your area before you waste your time for no reason.


Goodwill stores in San Francisco

Goodwill has 13 stores across San Francisco
To locate a store near you in San Francisco, use their locator tool  here.

Cheaper used medical equipment in San Francisco at Salvation Army stores

Not  all Salvation Army stores sell used home medical equipment, so when you have found one near you, you may want to give them a call to check that they do.

The Salvation Army doesn’t repair, or clean, items that it accepts for sale. So, once more, remember to really examine closely any home medical equipment that you buy from them.

The store locator tool is here – https://satruck.org/ThriftStore

Cheap used medical equipment in thrift stores in San Francisco


Remember to check the equipment for any cracks, faulty joints etc., so you don’t buy any defective equipment.

I have an article buying used medical equipment here – The Ultimate Guide To Used Medical Equipment In California

Little Shop of Hoarders SF


Here you can find –

  • walkers
  • crutches
  • canes



2610 Bayshore Blvd,

San Francisco,

CA 94134

Phone: 415 797 8402



Moving Sale

Funky secondhand shop features a vast selection of used furniture, vintage housewares & knickknacks.

The thrift store seems to sell everything under the sun, piled up to the ceiling – including walkers and crutches.



952 Howard St,

San Francisco,

CA 94103

Phone: 415 543 6833



Pick Of The litter Thrift Shop


The shop is run by the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA.

Call to check that they are taking durable medical equipment at the time of your search, as it can change.

The website page for the shop is here – https://phs-spca.org/pick/


1127 Chula Vista Ave,


CA 94010

Phone: 650 344 1662



Society Of St. Vincent De Paul

The society has 3 thrift stores in the San Francisco area, where you can find medical equipment such as –


  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • quad canes

South San Francisco

344 Grand Ave

South San Francisco, CA 94080

Phone: 650 589 8445


San Mateo

40 North B St,

San Mateo, CA94401

Phone: 650 294 8912


Menlo Park

728A Willow Rd,

Menlo Park, CA 94025



In the East Bay Area in Contra Costa County, there are another 3 stores, where you will find the following used medical equipment for sale –

  • wheelchairs
  • walkers
  • canes
  • quad canes



2210 Gladstone Drive,

Pittsburg, CA

Phone: 925 439 9064


Brentwood Help and Hope thrift Center

8890 Brentwood Blvd,

Brentwood, CA 94513

Phone: 925 635 3214


Pleasant Hill

2815 Contra Costas Blvd,

Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Phone: 925 934 5063



The Local Flea


160 Sylvester Rd,

South San Francisco,


Phone: 650 727 5864


The website: https://thelocalflea.com/

In conclusion


There are many options here, and hopefully you will find something that will help you out.


I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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