Come January, people experiencing homelessness in the Livermore Valley will have a new option.
Crosswinds Church has partnered with HomeAid Northern California, the charitable arm of homebuilders, to develop a community of 31 tiny homes on about an acre of its property off Freisman Road in Livermore between the outlet mall and Las Positas Golf Course. Crosswinds owns 35 acres that formerly was the Freisman dairy.
Chris Coli, the senior pastor at Crosswinds, explained they’d been thinking about how to use some of their land to benefit the community. They’d been thinking of tiny homes and then, last fall, allowed HomeAid teams to use their parking lot to construct six tiny homes that were bound for the parking lot at First Presbyterian Church in Hayward for transitional housing.
The Livermore project is significantly different because it will be permanent housing and building a community in what essentially will be a new subdivision. It will be operated by a new non-profit that is currently being formed, Goodness Village. It’s modeled after Community First in Austin, TX and like a Sacramento community that CEO Tammy Vallejo created three years ago. Vallejo is heading up the project.
“What’s appealing to us as a church is it’s a community first before it’s housing,” Coli said. “They don’t have people in their lives who can help them in their struggles. Our church will create community and we hope the Tri-Valley is part of creating community.”
The residents will have access to a variety of services and there will be social enterprises so people will have purpose and can earn an income. Case management will be customized for each person depending on their goals, Vallejo said.
Each home will be self-sufficient with a kitchenette, toilet and shower. Cooking facilities are very important to residents Vallejo learned in Sacramento. They want to cook for themselves. There also will be a community kitchen available to any resident and the community will likely have a couple of meals together weekly, Vallejo said.
In addition to HomeAid, the key partner is retiring Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty who put up $3 million. That will cover construction costs as well as most of the operating fund for the first year.
Shawn Wilson, the chief of staff for Haggerty, wrote in an email, “The Supervisor made a strong commitment to help to end homelessness in his district and the Crosswinds project is a great example of that commitment, where he agreed to place $3 million for the construction of a tiny homes project in conjunction with the city, the county, and the Crosswinds Church. The increase in the homeless population in Livermore and the county is increasing so fast that we simply have to do what we can to assist the effort of this project is a great indication of collaboration and innovation that will foster a small community where residents will get the services they need while becoming self-sufficient in a safe environment. We need more projects like this in our county and we hope this will be a model for other cities to copy!”
Given the staggering cost of building “affordable housing” (way over $500,000 per unit) putting together a 31-home community including the operating costs comes in at under $97,000 per unit. Thanks to the church, there’s no cost for the land and the HomeAid team is working at reduced cost or pro bono.
The HomeAid partnership includes the builder captain, Trumark Homes of San Ramon plus KTGY in Pleasanton that has done the architecture and Wood Rogers of Pleasanton that has done the site engineering. What’s impressive is the schedule. Vallejo plans to be moving in residents in January.
The key to that is the homes, which were ordered last week, are modular and are being factory built on wheels. Once the site is prepared with the underground utilities, it will simply be a matter of towing them to the site and hooking up the utilities.
“This will look and feel like any other new neighborhood,” Vallejo said. “This is very dignified for the residents.”
Vallejo already has two members of her leadership team on board and will be expanding it soon.
Potential residents can be referred now by submitting the form online at Goodness Village
Residents will pay monthly rent between $350-500 monthly that will include all utilities.