City of Oakland, Bay Area Community Services, Announce Opening of 17 New Homes for Unsheltered Residents

Date Posted: December 23rd, 2020 @ 6:07 PM
Last Updated: February 9th, 2021 @ 2:05 PM
Keys with Green House Keychain

The City of Oakland, in partnership with Bay Area Community Services (BACS), will announce an innovative program that has resulted in the purchase of 17 residential homes for unsheltered residents.

Assisted by Project Homekey funds, the City contracted with BACS to purchase and convert 17 homes throughout Oakland to provide new interim housing for more than 100 previously unsheltered residents, the first of whom began moving in this month.

“This brings new meaning to the phrase ‘home for the holidays’”, said Mayor Schaaf. “More than 100 formally homeless individuals will receive their forever homes through this innovative project. These types of ambitious projects can take years, yet this gift of housing came in less than 90 days, due to the relationships we have with organizations like BACS, and the heart, urgency, and compassion of our City staff.”

Funding for this project was a combination of approximately $10M in state issued Project Homekey, and $5M in philanthropic donation from Crankstart.

“I have nothing but love and respect for this project and those who made it happen,” said Vice Mayor Larry Reid, District 7. “This program gives dignity and respect back to people who deserve it. There are many other properties like this around the City that can be acquired, so I am confident we can do this same thing again.”

The City held a press conference to announce the first homes openings today where Mayor Schaaf was joined by Councilmember and Vice Mayor Larry Reid, Shola Olatoye, Director of Housing & Community Development, and Jamie Almanza, Executive Director of BACS.

Below: City staff and partner agency statements; a recording of the 12/23 press conference; highlights from the 12/23 press conference; and a virtual tour of two Project homes.

“This project is a wonderful example of what can happen when partners come together – multiple levels of government, nonprofit agencies, and philanthropic entities – to house our most vulnerable,” said Shola Olatoye, Director of Housing & Community Development. “This is a proven model that provides dignity to residents. I look forward to doing more with the state and similar agencies to house our neighbors in need.”

“This model works,” said Jamie Almanza, BACS Executive Director. “It breaks the frame that it doesn’t have to be big hotels, we can place people in houses within residential communities. It really is about having a home that is within the community, neighbors who we all live by, that are truly deeply affordable and offers people a place to age safely with dignity.”

View the press conference here.

View highlights from press conference here.

View a tour of Clifton Hall here.


Bay Area Community Services (BACS)

Today, BACS’ mission is to uplift under-served individuals and their families by doing whatever it takes. Bay Area Community Services (BACS) provides innovative behavioral health and housing services for teens, adults, older adults, and their families across the Bay Area. We envision a world where all people are healthy, safe, and engaged in community wellness, with access to quality housing. Every year, BACS makes a difference in the lives of more than 8,000 people.

Project Homekey

Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Project Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19.

Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding will be made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing.

Of the $600 million in Homekey grant funds, $550 million is derived from the State's direct allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds (CRF), and $50 million is derived from the State's General Fund.