PROJECT RECLAMATION: PROJECT HOMEKEY IN OAKLAND
California, Oakland, and BACS – Major Investment in Permanent Housing for Oaklanders
OAKLAND, CA, September 2020 – Bay Area Community Services (BACS)’ Project Reclamation has been awarded $10 million to buy single-family homes in Oakland as part of the State of California’s Project Homekey, creating permanent housing for community members with complex needs who are experiencing homelessness.
On September 21, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the second round of Project Homekey funding awards, a major investment from the State of California. Project Homekey is a capital infusion to purchase motels and provide for permanent supports of housing for homeless individuals.
BACS’ Project Reclamation plans to develop 100 units at 20 scattered sites throughout Oakland for families and individuals. Project Reclamation seeks to preserve the Oakland community by reclaiming neighborhoods for community benefit. BACS has 67 years of history in Oakland, so we identify and prioritize neighborhoods with strong opportunities for revitalization, preventing gentrification that displaces long-term community members.
Project Reclamation is a grassroots Co-Op Living model aimed to eliminate barriers to access deeply affordable permanent housing with supportive services for homeless individuals. The model is highly efficient in that it does not require a lifetime operating subsidy because the asset is owned and the rental income and some services revenue covers all operating expenses over time.
“This model is a game-changer for how our community will solve homelessness,” said BACS CEO Jamie Almanza. “It is innovative, simple, and cost-efficient. And at the heart of this model is that it takes a stand at fighting gentrification – at reclaiming our communities. BACS, as a non-profit, holds assets in the community trust, for the people. These homes – and the individuals that hold the keys – are for the community, of the community, and in the community. I am so proud to live in a State and a community where the public leaders see the strength of this model, as it is unique and could have easily been passed over. Thank you for your leadership.”
Project Homekey, administered by California Housing & Community Development department, is the state’s $600 million program for purchasing and rehabilitating housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties, converting them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Project Homekey builds on the effective crisis response of Project Roomkey, which brought unhoused people rapidly off the streets and inside in an unprecedented – never been done – way. BACS stepped up to run three large Project Roomkey hotels throughout the Bay Area.
BACS is honored to work with the City of Oakland, the Oakland City Council, Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Oakland Housing and Community Development Department leadership on this innovative, neighborhood-oriented approach to ending homelessness.
Housing Co-Ops: Supported Independent Living
Bay Area Community Services (BACS) believes that homelessness is one of the most pressing problems of our time – but that it can be solved through community investment in innovative solutions.
Some affordable housing projects are taking up to 10 years before move in, & can cost up to $600,000 per studio apartment built. We cannot afford to wait 10 years. We buy homes where the entirety of a six-bedroom house costs less than one newly built affordable housing studio, and are ready to move people in within 30 days – not 10 years
This program model is deeply rooted in the community. BACS has acquired, owned, operated, and property managed small-site, scattered, Co-Op Living properties for individuals experiencing homelessness since 1973. Our vision is one of preservation, anti-gentrification, system coordination, and one that still believes firmly that there are pathways to end homelessness if there is an openness to break the frame of requiring rigid and conservative, one-way lifetime strategies in favor of non-traditional, true community-driven solutions like the BACS Co-Living model.
At BACS’ Supported Independent Living Co-Op sites, residents are people who would otherwise be homeless due to mental health complications and other barriers. Rather than living on the streets or being institutionalized, which is harmful for the individual and our community, participants get to live safely and healthily in the community of their choice.
Each resident is paired with a Care Coordinator who helps them build independent living skills through job support, benefits assistance, mental health support, financial assistance, job support, group activities, and money management. Residents learn skills by sharing responsibilities for cleaning, paying bills, and running their household.
Every single person in a BACS house has their own bedroom, door, and key. Individuals share communal areas such as kitchen and bathrooms. BACS does not believe in individuals crammed in shared bedrooms or in bunkbeds. Our housing is embedded in the community, and allows clients to share in cooking & other house activities while still having their own bedroom, preventing isolation. Tenants hold long term leases, and because BACS in the landlord, we are more attune to typical behavioral issues that tend to cause them to be evicted and return to homelessness.
About Bay Area Community Services
Bay Area Community Services (BACS) provides innovative behavioral health and housing services for teens, adults, older adults, and their families across the Bay Area. BACS’ mission is to uplift under-served community members and their families by doing whatever it takes. Since its founding in 1953, BACS has become a local leader in homelessness prevention programs, facing the housing crisis head on through rapid re-housing, targeted outreach for people experiencing homelessness and support navigating the web of services, purchasing housing across the Bay Area to house people who would otherwise be homeless, and much more. BACS also provides recovery-oriented behavioral health services. To learn more, go to www.bayareacs.org
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