Backed by the Livermore City Council and local organizations, Alameda County is stepping up to shelter the homeless with a village of tiny homes located at a community church.
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and CrossWinds Church spearheaded the transitional housing village; the city provided technical assistance through the permitting process, along with feedback on the long-term viability of supportive services.
“The solutions that exist for our unhoused neighbors are often Band-Aids for the problem, but here’s the thing, we have a chance to do more,” said CrossWinds Church Pastor Chris Coli. “I’ve come to buy into the belief that the single greatest cause of homelessness is the profound, catastrophic loss of family. I know surveys (attribute it) to mental illness and drug abuse, and for many, that is very real, but when you go back to the very beginning of someone’s story … what you almost always find is that profound, catastrophic loss of family. So housing alone will not solve homelessness; community will.”
According to city staff, a critical path to solving the homelessness crisis involves providing dedicated affordable housing units.
“The tiny homes community at CrossWinds, while not a City of Livermore project, is a result of many years of collaboration with the county, local service providers and the faith-based community to come up with creative ways to provide housing for our unsheltered residents,” said Trish Munro, Livermore City Councilmember. “The city council’s subcommittee on homelessness, which is made up of Councilmember (Robert) Carling and I, had a series of public meetings in 2018 to develop a strategic framework to address short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies. While the subcommittee work continues, the tiny homes village at CrossWinds is directly in line with our strategies to provide long-term and short-term housing with on-site supportive services.”
The tiny homes village will feature a total of 31 tiny homes, with 22 long-term and nine short-term units with on-site supportive services. All units come equipped with porches with rails and overhangs over the doors to block the rain. The interior comes with a bathroom, shower and kitchenette. The independent living spaces will include an outdoor kitchen, indoor community spaces, community resources space, community garden and walking trails.
In addition, residents at the tiny home community can access on-site supportive services. Services will include mental health, substance abuse, employment training and social enterprise opportunities. A property management company will be available 24/7 to coordinate services; residents will be required to pay rent at a yet-to-be-determined amount.
“We’ve been working with the city and the county to get an agreement together to create Goodness Village,” said Coli. “Homelessness is a terrible thing that has been a reality for many in our neighborhood – your neighbors, your co-workers, many kids that your kids go to school with – and we are together as a county, a city and a church and other churches, synagogues and mosques to overcome evil with good. Goodness Village will be a community, not just housing, and will be self-sustaining. Our hope and intentions are that this will not just be a CrossWinds thing. In fact, it can’t be. This needs to be a community thing that faith organizations and corporate partners and volunteers and neighbors will want to come hang out here with their formerly unhoused neighbors and create community with them.”
The village aims to provide residents with the stability of transitional housing until those in need are able to obtain permanent housing.
“This project is still being completed, but people can help by staying informed about it and its benefits to the community, then passing that word along,” Munro said. “Livermore is a caring community, (and we should) keep it that way. Service providers continue to need help – some with money and some with volunteer efforts. It has given me great satisfaction to see the cooperation between CrossWinds Church, the county and the City of Livermore in bringing to fruition this project, which has so much to offer to some of the most vulnerable in our community. This is a wonderful example of how bringing our different resources together benefits all of us.”
The Tri-Valley Nonprofit Fund currently matches donations and supports six local nonprofits. For more information or to donate, visit https://tvnpa.org/tvnf.