– by Supriya Yelimeli

Homeless advocates unveiled a bright, renovated Victorian home in Downtown Berkeley Wednesday to offer temporary housing for people transitioning into their own apartments.

The Homeless Action Center (HAC), which offers legal services and outreach for homeless residents throughout Alameda County, will operate a seven-room home with a resident manager at 2207 Haste St. The Northern California Land Trust owns the home and it was previously occupied by Options Recovery Services.

Called “Almost Home,” it’s the first safe house in Berkeley, though the nonprofit Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency runs a similar Casa Maria program in Oakland.


“If somebody is homeless and we’re working on their case, it’s super hard to stay in touch with them and help them through the instability of living in an encampment,” Wall said, explaining that many of HAC’s clients are working through Supplemental Security Income processes that can take months.

The safe house will help HAC arrange primary care doctors for their clients and offer a bridge between encampment or street living and permanent housing, which can be a jarring shift at first.

“Our clients deserve a little place to just take a breath,” Wall said. “[Here] they can sort of integrate a little easier into our community and remember how to be a householder.”

HAC outreach workers will take residents to appointments and needed services, and there will also be “enrichment” programming like movies and art talks, Wall said.

Photo credit: Supriya Yelimeli, Berkeleyside

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