Homeless families to start moving into old dormitory in Oakland

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Residents at a nearby shelter will begin moving into a former college dorm in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood from December 28, a modest but promising step in housing the city’s massive and growing homeless population. .

Oakland owns the Clifton Hall dormitory on the California College of the Arts campus in Rockridge – an unoccupied 63-unit building that it turns into housing for homeless families and the elderly.

City officials predict that up to 100 people will live at Clifton Hall. Families at the joint Emeryville and Oakland homeless shelter will move into the first two floors, which will be transitional housing, while the upper floors will be used as permanent places for homeless seniors.

“We all know that the solution to homelessness is housing, permanent housing,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said at a press conference on Wednesday. “Not just shelter – accommodation. This is what we celebrate together as Oakland celebrates receiving our virtual keys from Clifton Hall. “

Clifton Hall, at 5276 Broadway Terrace, was left vacant after the California College of the Arts announced it would close its Oakland campus by 2022. Oakland bought the hall for $ 13 million and spent 2 million in renovations, using $ 9.6 million from the state’s Project Homekey. program and $ 5.4 million in municipal funds.

The city has many programs to help house the homeless, including community cabins and recreational vehicle safety programs, but the demand far exceeds the availability.

Oakland’s homeless population increased 47% from 2017 to 2019, to 4,071. The number of homeless people increased by more than 68% to 3,210. Oakland has approximately 140 tent camps and of motorhomes.

Forty-two units at Clifton Hall will be for seniors and the rest for families.

Families can stay as long as they want, but social workers will focus on finding permanent accommodation, said Sara Bedford, director of the city’s social services department.

Bedford said about 500 families are homeless in Oakland. Clifton Hall will provide support to 20 to 25 families.

Rent is still being determined, but will likely be around 30% of a person’s income, said Susan Friedland, CEO of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, an affordable housing nonprofit that is co-managing the project.

Clifton Hall is the first homeless housing in the affluent Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. City Councilor Dan Kalb said if the city wants to tackle the homelessness crisis, then every neighborhood must provide housing. He said the Rockridge residents he spoke to support the project.

“Obviously our city needs more affordable housing, I think that goes without saying,” Kalb said. “We cannot have a solution that will exclude many neighborhoods under this solution. “

Sarah Ravani is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SarRavani



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