ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) – Dignity Village, a new transitional housing development, opened and is now fully operational.

Velma Gay has lived on the streets and in her car in San Francisco and the East Bay. She is the first resident scheduled to move into Dignity Village in Alameda. “It’s been, what I would call, an extremely humbling experience. I’m very grateful,” said Gay.

The new housing community on Fifth Street includes 47 small units with a bed, desk and private bathroom and the property can house up to 61 people at a time. The residents can live there from six months to two years while working their way to a permanent living situation.

“I’m not trying to stay for two years just because that’s available to me. I’m a very proactive, aggressive person. So, I’m hoping that six months, I should be on to my next,” said Gay.

Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said the city and Five Keys, the onsite service provider, along with the property manager reached out to neighbors during the past 14 months easing concerns the project would tarnish the community. “As one cohort moves on, another moves in and those are the steps we now know it takes to end homelessness,” said Ashcraft.

Some homeowners in the area have followed the project from the beginning to Wednesday’s opening and are convinced the residents will receive the services they need to become independent.

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“The first thing that comes to your mind is you think about something like in the inner-city, and how some of the communities are you know, not kept clean and trash all over the place. And, being a homeowner, you know, for a lot of us that was a concern,” said Cinda Sullivan, homeowner.

Five Keys will provide routine maintenance of the units and 24/7 property security along with janitorial services. The project was funded by nearly $15 million in grants from the state’s Homekey Program and from Alameda County.