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The second phase of the Alameda County Housing Development Capacity Building Program builds on the workshops offered in the summer of 2019 and provides targeted technical assistance and financial resources to 10 faith- and community-based organizations located in Alameda County that own property they wish to develop into affordable housing. The program assists organizations accepted into the program to explore the feasibility of developing affordable housing on their site, partner with an experienced housing developer and initiate a development plan to build affordable housing.
For selected organizations, the targeted technical assistance will include the following services:
The 10 faith-based and community-based organizations in the first Targeted Technical Assistance cohort each have projects that face different challenges and different stages of development, and as such their technical assistance is tailored to their needs. For a more detailed look into the specific assistance each member of our 2020 Cohort is currently receiving, meet our first cohort below:
Agnes Memorial Church of God in Christ was founded by Bishop Marshall Simmons in 1970 and has been serving the San Antonio neighborhood of East Oakland ever since. For the past fifty years they have been serving the community by feeding the hungry, clothing those without, and providing shelter to the homeless. The Agnes Memorial Christian Academy has provided quality education for children preschool through twelfth grade since 1978. They envision building senior affordable housing on their site to fulfill the dream of founder Bishop Q.C. Simmons, who always envisioned a safe place for his most vulnerable members.
In partnership with affordable housing developer Related Companies, Agnes Memorial Church of God in Christ is seeking to develop 60 units of senior housing with a community center and preschool on site. They wish to keep 20-30 percent of the units for formerly homeless seniors. Over the course of the program, the Church is looking to select a development consultant, implement a development and financing strategy, and identify a service agency to work with the eventual residents.
“I don’t think I would be a part of the cohort if it was not for the encouraging words of [LISC Program staff]. The application process seemed so overwhelming at first glance, even though LISC offered all the assistance you could ask for. Knowledge is power… I want to understand the language of affordable housing; already I have gained so much. I have always wanted to have a Development Consultant to look out for the best interest of the church and move the project along. I have been trying to get this project developed for twelve years with the same Developer; they have submitted at least four NOFAs to date and are never awarded. It was not until I joined the LISC cohort that one of your consultants informed me that I had a right to ask the City of Oakland to review my application with me and the developer, to actually see where my scoring came up short. How invaluable was this, not to be chasing our tails and to be transparent.”
With roots in Oakland since 1906, the Episcopal Church of Our Savior has served the local community out of their 1011 Harrison Street location since 1970. Over the last twenty years, they have completed a major earthquake retrofitting, remodeled the parish hall and the church office, added new classrooms in the basement, and a conference room in the attic. Since 1995 they have provided English as a Second Language classes, tutoring and other non-religious youth education programing through the Oakland Chinatown Jubilee Community Center. In 2008 the church announced the selection the Rev. Merry Chan Ong as their first female rector.
Episcopal Church of our Savior is exploring how to provide workforce and clergy housing in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood and has been working with DCG Strategies as their development consultant since October 2018. After completing a land use analysis study on their Downtown Oakland site, DCG confirmed the highest and best use of the site is a mixed-use residential and commercial development. Through their participation in the program they will issue a Request For Qualifications for an affordable housing developer partner, and ultimately select a joint venture partner.
“The knowledge, the process, training, and financial aid inspired me that it is possible to start the building project at our church. The sharings of experiences of others drew me to the program… and the good leadership of [LISC Program staff and consultants], well- explained to me what I need to pay attention to, how to start. The speakers are excellent, relevant topics, profound knowledge, and an eye opening to me, that developing affordable housing involves some challenges, which I have to prepare for [the program provides] a guidepost to me.”
Genesis Worship Center was established in 2003 under the leadership of Pastor George Matthews. As Genesis grew, it became evident that a permanent location was necessary for continued growth and community support. In 2005, Genesis Worship Center purchased a 16,000 square foot Church at 2708 Ritchie Street in Oakland, CA.
For 4 years, Genesis Worship Center has been working to develop 12 units of affordable housing in East Oakland. After facing some funding issues, they partnered with developer New Way Homes in 2018, who have helped the project advance by lending funds, assisting with entitlements, and connecting a nationally renowned lender to participate in the construction finance (approximately. $3.5M). Genesis Worship Center aims to reach 80% construction over the course of their participation in the Alameda County Housing Development and Capacity Building program. In April 2020, they broke ground
Pastor George Matthews was born in Houston, TX and raised in East Palo Alto, CA. As a young person he attended the New Sweet Home Church of God in Christ under the leadership of Pastor A.C. Macklin in East Palo Alto, CA where he received his biblical foundation. He holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from San Jose State, a MBA from Golden Gate University and a Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy from Liberty University. Pastor Matthews has served in the Church of God In Christ and has held various positions that include Special Assistant to the Bishop, Superintendent, Jurisdictional Youth President and Jurisdictional Secretary. He is the former state youth president for California Northwest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, under the leadership of Bishop W.W. Hamilton, where he oversaw the youth departments of over 120 churches. He is also the former Youth Church Director for the International Youth Department of the Church of God In Christ where he established the first Youth Church during the AIM Convention under the leadership of Bishop G.E. Patterson.
Greater Cooper has been active in the West Oakland neighborhood since the 1890’s and is one of the oldest African American Churches in the City of Oakland. The Church’s mission is "Building Kingdom People for Kingdom Living." Their vision is "prayer prevailing, praise penetrating, service essential, sacrifice eternal, and every believer living a kingdom life by the power and promise of God."
Greater Cooper is leveraging a joint venture partnership with New Way Homes in order to develop affordable housing on an existing parking lot on their property in West Oakland. They hope to provide roughly 21 units of affordable and mixed income housing to help stabilize the neighborhood as housing costs continue to escalate. Greater Cooper is working through the entitlements process with the City of Oakland and are considering a mixture of studio and 4 bedroom rental apartments, with some potentially dedicated for teacher housing. By the end of the program they aim to finalize their Joint Venture Agreement with a development partner, finalize a ground lease and operating agreement and then submit for entitlements with the city of Oakland.
“Our development partner New Way Homes introduced us to the [Alameda County Housing Development and Capacity Building] program. In addition, the draw was the ground learning process and the cohort component. We hope to attain knowledge of the development process to be a resource to other churches. The key learning for us at this juncture is the gained knowledge from the experiences of the Cohort members in general.”
The Oakland Peace Center (OPC) is a community of artists, activists, cultural workers, educators and non-profits collaborating to bring about a city of hope, justice, nonviolence and compassion. The OPC amplifies these efforts by providing needed space, hosting collaborative events, and creating a network of emotional and spiritual support for its 30+ partners.
OPC has spent seven years acquiring the building where it currently resides at the intersection of Oakland’s Adams Point, West Lake, Pill Hill and Auto Row neighborhoods. The surrounding community is rapidly shifting and there is danger of losing so much of what makes this community vibrant. OPC hopes to provide not just housing for formerly incarcerated youth of color but a pathway for them into the building trades so that Oaklanders can stay in Oakland within communities of support. As a part of this cohort OPC is developing a joint venture partnership with a nonprofit developer and evaluating how best to subdivide their property to enable the project.
“We've known for a number of years we wanted to provide affordable housing in a way that builds community… Expert advice, solidarity and peer wisdom were things we had been longing for, and the funding lightened our load so much as well. This cohort… keeps reminding me that the possibilities for what we can accomplish are much bigger than I've been encouraged to dream. Because they didn't know "what you can't do," they're doing things I would have thought couldn't be done, choosing different funding paths that allow them to serve the particular communities that our systems ignore. It's beautiful."
Since 1981, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (RNHS) has worked to strengthen low-income families and neighborhoods through the promotion of affordable housing. RNHS was established to reverse the adverse effects of systemic segregation, redlining, disinvestment, and blight. Today, RNHS has grown to serve the needs of over 7,500 families across the East Bay. RNHS is a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency.
RNHS is developing Filbert West Oakland LLC., a single-family homeownership project of 7 townhomes in West Oakland. The project’s aim is to house first-time homebuyers who do not earn above 120% of Alameda County’s area median income. Over the course of their participation in the program RHNS aims to secure entitlements for the project and at least 20% of the soft financing required to keep the units’ purchase prices at between 100-120% area median income.
“RNHS was interested in getting support as a new developer to address the technical needs and support the project and organization offered. [Via this program we hope to accomplish] a clear pathway and direction on how to fill the gaps to move our project forward. So far, the value of thought partnership has been a ley learning for us from this program.”
Ruby’s Place has provided shelter and supportive services in Hayward since 1972. They currently serve families and individuals experiencing domestic violence and human trafficking. Ruby’s Place was the first incorporated domestic violence shelter in California and opened the nation’s first shelter for adult males who are victims of human trafficking. Their mission is to provide prevention and supportive services to the community of people impacted by domestic violence and human trafficking. Their vision: safe and stable families, one person at a time.
Ruby’s Place owns two adjacent parcels in Hayward California that were purchased in 1981. They are exploring options to maximize the use of these parcels in both their mission to serve victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, and in the adjacent interest area of affordable permanent housing. Ruby’s Place will assess development feasibility with their development consultant, DCG Strategies.
“We knew that our property wasn't being fully utilized, we knew we needed a new shelter AND we really think affordable housing is needed in the Bay Area. However, we also needed some experts to tell us what the options are and help set the roadmap on how to get there. We hope to finalize a plan on how to rebuild our shelter and add affordable housing to our property. We have learned so much already, whether it be from the other agencies in the cohort sharing their challenges and successes or the trainings that LISC has provided with local experts. I personally have learned a ton about each step of the development process.”
South Hayward United Methodist Church (SMHUMC) was founded in 1968 as Wesley United Methodist Church and merged with Melrose United Methodist Church in 2004, becoming South Hayward UMC. Located in the Harder-Tennyson neighborhood of Hayward, SHUMC has vacant land on their property which they are considering developing into affordable housing to serve their surrounding communities of South Hayward, Hayward and Hayward Hills, San Leandro, Union City, and Fremont.
SMHUMC is exploring a housing project which will potentially serve formerly homeless individuals. In joining the Alameda County Housing Development and Capacity Building program, the church’s goal in the program is to work with their development consultant, Charmaine Curtis to create a development plan, evaluate joint venture development models, and to build relationships with local community leaders and planning department experts to help with their endeavor.
“Because it is our church's mission to help those in need, I was led to a meeting held at Supervisor Nate Miley's office, who reached out to pastors with land to consider building affordable housing. The key learning experiences are twofold. One, I enjoy hearing about the joys and concerns of others in the program, and two, I appreciate the training. Interacting with [LISC Program staff] has been wonderful because of her passion and efforts to serve with a kind heart.”
St. Mary’s Center has provided essential services for at-risk seniors and preschoolers in Oakland for more than 40 years. Today, they annually stabilize the lives of more than 1,350 homeless seniors and frail seniors living alone, assist neighborhood families who need supplementary groceries, and provide a preschool for 40 children living in poverty. St. Mary’s also operates 3 transitional homes with 41 units and operating subsidies from Oakland Housing Authority.
In 2018, St. Mary’s Center purchased a collection of 5 vacant storefronts at the corner of San Pablo Avenue and 32nd street, and are in contract to add 3135 San Pablo Ave., currently a vacant lot. In partnership with local nonprofit developer SAHA, St. Mary’s Center is developing affordable housing with at least with 68 unsubsidized micro-units with medical respite/assisted living services. The project will be financed by tax credits, municipal funds and a capital campaign. Via this program they aim to complete their development agreement with their joint venture development partner, SAHA.
“The LISC training will help St. Mary's Center move forward with greater confidence and fewer surprises as we develop permanent supportive housing on San Pablo Avenue in West Oakland. I hope the technical knowledge helps us make more strategic decisions as we plan the development. The opportunity to work with other community and faith based organizations made the training opportunities more accessible. The LISC training has shown us how to adjust the rules to deliver a project that works for the people we serve."
United Lutheran Church has been in existence in Oakland in its current location for over sixty years. The church's origins date back to a merger between Our Savior Lutheran Church and First Lutheran of Oakland. They are engrained within their local communities of Broadmoor, Eastmont, Millsmont, Maxwell Park, Oaknoll, Toler Heights, Madison Park, Sequoyah, and they embrace the spiritual curiosity of children, young people, LGBTQ and Questioning, adults and the elderly, and support each other's healing, education and wellbeing.
The Church wants to optimize its property that is undeveloped into senior rental housing or for-sale low income family housing and market rate housing. In the process they want to preserve some existing space used for community groups and a preschool. East Oakland is desperate for affordable housing. Nearby, the East Oakland Naval Hospital site is redeveloping into a single family and multifamily residential and commercial shopping development, without any affordable housing set asides. United Lutheran Church sees its mixed-use campus development as complimenting the market rate development. As a member of this cohort, United Lutheran Church aims to develop land use applications and identify a suitable development partner.
“[LISC’s program] provides the critical level of support that our church needs to navigate the intricacies of affordable housing development in a manner that is thoughtful and strategic for the community we wish to serve. We hope to achieve the basics of planning and implementation that will allow the United Lutheran Church of Oakland to be on a strong footing to provide housing for senior citizens that represent the dignity, beauty and convenience they deserve. Equally important is that our housing is embraced and supported by our surrounding community in East Oakland. One key learning in our process is that affordable housing production requires a partnership of expertise, vision, tenacity, and courage. Being in a cohort of committed organizations and technical assistance providers working on the same issues provides us with solidarity and models to emanate when the journey looks long and nearly insurmountable."