After unanimous consent from the Berkeley Zoning Adjustment Board approving the BOSS Step Up Housing project in July, BOSS is now seeking approval from the City of Berkeley to use Measure P funds to make the new affordable supportive housing a reality. The project at 1367 University Avenue in Berkeley is an innovative modular development that will provide safe, beautiful, service-rich housing for 39 unsheltered neighbors.
The project, which will be built using prefab modules, has widespread support, and the ZAB approved it unanimously. One commissioner, Denise Pinkston, called it “a mini-urban miracle” and Berkeleyside, the local paper, said “it could be a model for the state.” (July 10, 2020.)
The benefits of the project include:
- Taking 39 people off the streets immediately and providing supportive services.
- Fulfilling the #1 Recommendation for General Fund Allocations Associated with Berkeley Measure P: “Permanent Housing Subsidies and Services.”
- Incorporating a short construction time, which means building and services could be operational within 12 months of receiving a funding commitment.
- Providing a highly visible location on the busiest street in Berkeley, where the City and County could showcase their efforts to address the homeless crisis.
In partnership with Panoramic Interests, this project will utilize modular development – a faster and less expense mode of construction. BOSS as an expert service provider combined with fast-track modular development is an exciting model that can be replicated across the community, the state, and the country – repurposing empty lots across regions to solve homelessness.
While the scale of the homelessness crisis requires not just one but many solutions – traditional construction, master leasing, subsidizing housing, shared housing, tiny homes, accommodation of trailers, safe encampments, and more – modular construction shows special promise for its ability to quickly bring safe and attractive units online in empty lots as small as 5000 square feet – the most common lot size in the region.
Step Up Housing will help unsheltered individuals to address health, income, and other challenges, with on-site services, pro-social activities, peer support and mentoring to create a safe and welcoming community where people can become healthy and stable.
BOSS currently operates and manages 48 units of permanent supportive housing in Alameda County, with 49 years’ experience serving our unsheltered neighbors.