Collaborative Looks to Future of Point

Alameda Point is at a significant cross-road, and so is the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC). APC was established in 1999 through a special federal homeless accommodation process. Over the last 16 years we have been successfully working to end homelessness by providing housing and services to create a community where formerly homeless families and individuals can flourish. At any given time we are serving almost 500 individuals, including almost 300 children and youth.

Over the years the cost of maintaining our facilities has increased tremendously, due in part to the failing infrastructure around us, and in part to the quality of the buildings themselves. Every dollar spent on repairing failed sewer lines is money that could be much more productively spent on services to help our families recover from the trauma of homelessness.

When APC was established, the popular belief at that time was that the rest of Alameda Point would be redeveloped within two to three years, and that all the amenities needed for a healthy community would be put in place. Sadly almost 16 years later, that dream of being part of a larger vibrant community at Alameda Point still goes unfulfilled. Instead we are a neighborhood trying to do our best in the midst of a blighted, mostly empty wasteland.

APC has made an important decision to move forward on a plan to rebuild our housing and our community, hopefully in sync with other planned development at Alameda Point.

We firmly believe Alameda Point will be a much better community if a mix of housing, employment and retail can rise up together, starting with the proposed Site A development. Lack of such a development effort will seriously hamper the ability of our residents to access opportunities for self-sufficiency. However, for the sake of preserving our housing opportunities and serving the needs of our residents, we are prepared to move forward regardless.

Our new development will provide accessible, efficient housing for our residents and appropriate space for an array of services. These include counseling, therapy, tutoring, life skills, on-the-job training and employment. 

Building on the success of our existing social enterprises such as Ploughshares Nursery and our Farm2Market farm, we will also have space for community and retail activities where the community can come to participate in and support the work we are doing.

Over the next few months we will be bringing our plans forward in more detail, and we look forward to working with our residents, the community, fellow businesses and developers at Alameda Point and the city to create a model for ending homelessness that we can all take pride in.

Doug Biggs is Alameda Point Collaborative’s executive director.