The BOSS South County Homeless Project (SCHP) has been providing shelter and life-changing support services to 24 homeless Hayward residents per night since 1989. In April of this year, BOSS began working with Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services Agency to complete some much-needed building upgrades – new ceiling, ventilation system, heating/air conditioning, and oven, dubbed ‘Emma’ by staff and participants!
Initially, the plan was to move the mentally ill homeless residents into other shelter or housing in the community while the work could be completed, but “That was something we didn’t want to do,” says Site Coordinator John Darby. He worked hard with contractors and the County to do the work in phases and to reorganize the site in order to conduct the work without any resident displacement.
No work was conducted before 6 am so residents could sleep, and no work was conducted during lunchtime. The contractors “took meticulous care with beds and belongings,” said John. The program rearranged group activities according to the pattern of renovation work, and they continued to take incoming residents uninterrupted throughout the process.
When they had to demolish and redo the restrooms, they worked on one at a time and brought port-a-potties onto the property, ensuring wheelchair-accessible bathroom access throughout the process for the two residents in wheelchairs.
Before the renovations, the space had gotten “stuffy and uncomfortable, and it was hard for people to sleep especially during the hot months,” said John. Now both residents and staff are more comfortable, and the new system will serve the program for years to come.
Thank you to Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services Agency for your partnership, and to the patient staff and residents at SCHP!
For more information about SCHP, contact John Darby, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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