City Submits Grant Application to Build Development for Unhoused Residents

City of Alameda--City plans to use a state grant to build a 47-unit interim housing development.

City Submits Grant Application to Build Development for Unhoused Residents

The City of Alameda reported on Feb. 10 it has applied for a Project Homekey Round 2 grant to receive funding to build an interim housing development for the city’s unhoused community. The city requested $12.4 million, according to reports.

The housing development will be two stories and contain 47 individual units. The plan calls for 38 units to be allocated for chronically unhoused residents, four units for general or recently unhoused residents and five units for transitional age youth who are unhoused or at risk of being unhoused. The proposed development would also include eight units adapted for individuals with mobility, hearing or vision disabilities. The units would include a private bathroom, desk and individually controlled climate control as well as common areas and amenities.

The development would include shelters on the first and second floor, an administration building, a pet area (pets will be welcomed), a community garden and about 26 parking spots.

The proposed development would be located at the “bottle parcel” at 2350 Fifth St., next to the College of Alameda. Currently, the vacant land is owned by the Alameda’s Successor Agency to the Community Improvement Commission (SACIC).

Homekey grants are separated by capital award and operating award. The capital award must be spent eight months after collection, while the operational award must be spent after three years. Per Homekey rules, the city must guarantee that operational costs for the project are available for five years (The city plans for the development to remain in place for 15 years, 20 years if County Home funds are used). City Manager Eric Levitt told the council in November 2021 that grant funding through Homekey will not pay all operational costs through the first five years. In response, the council approved a plan to include $4.64 million from the American Rescue Plan Act 2021 and $1.2 million from the General Fund, for a total of $5.84 million, to help with operational costs through fiscal year 2027-28.

Alameda Community Development Director Lisa Maxwell told the council that city staff does not have the funding identified after year five, but they will begin pursuing other grant opportunities and funding sources once the application is submitted.

In August 2021, when there was inclination the state would offer a second round of Project Homekey, the city sent out a request for proposal to local entities seeking a developer, property manager and service provider for the development. After receiving several responses, the city opted to hire DignityMoves and Five Keys as partners in the project.

DignityMoves will be the project developer. The development would be called Dignity Village. DignityMoves works to offer supportive housing as a stop-over between living on the street and permanent housing. They have built similar interim housing projects in San Francisco and Santa Barbara. The San Francisco development contains 70 private rooms.

Five Keys would lead in operational services. Five Keys is a nonprofit organization that “provides traditionally underserved communities the opportunity to improve their lives through a focus on the Five Keys: Education, Employment, Recovery, Family, Community.” Five Keys offers free adult education to California residents wishing to obtain their GED, HiSET, or High School Diploma. College of Alameda might also offer services to residents. Prospective residents would receive case management and support in obtaining permanent housing; addiction, mental health and medical care; public benefits; education and skill building; and referrals to employment services.

SACIC, DignityMoves and Five Keys are co-authors in the Project Homekey Round 2 application with the City of Alameda.

Project Homekey’s goal is to make funding available to local public entities to develop a range of housing types, including manufactured housing, and convert into permanent or interim housing for unhoused residents. The program was created as a continuation to Project Roomkey, which was established in March 2020 as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Alameda provided four trailers for the project.

As the project wound down, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on July 16, 2020, the state had allocated $600 million for Project Homekey. Newsom later added $200 million more to the fund. On Sept. 16, 2021, Newsom announced round 2 of the grant, which would allocate $1.45 billion to public entities.

The program is administered by the State of California’s Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD). Application deadline for the grant is May 2, or when money has run out. A third round is expected.

To read the city’s Project Homekey and Dignity Village report, visit