BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — In the Bay Area, some cities are trying new approaches to help the unhoused get off the streets. One nonprofit is using a warehouse to offer shelter.
Dorothy Day House is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization serving low-income and those experiencing homelessness in Berkeley. For the last 18 months, Robbi Montoya and his team ran the Horizon Transit Village.
“There are so many beautiful things that made this work, for example, space. One of the many barriers in working with encampment populations, for example, is them not want to leave their belongings so with the warehouse models, we have storage space,” said Robbi Montoya, Dorothy Day House executive director.
It was a large warehouse where they welcomed guests, as they referred to those who stayed there, to spread out and get shelter. “We didn’t have a curfew,” said Montoya.
Montoya said the warehouse concept, with its hot meals, storage lockers and assistance from 12 other partner groups, such as medical and dental services, was successful. While their capacity was 50 people, they served 147 people in the last 18 months.
They are currently working on a new project of placing 27 residents into a former hotel turned into an apartment. “We have to think outside the box,” said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.
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Mayor Butt said he has been working with local organizations, including rotary, to place people into apartments. Brianni Peters was helped by Tom Herriman with Richmond Rotary into an apartment for her and her 13-year-old daughter, who had been living in an RV.
“We really wanted to get this done before Christmas,” said Mayor Butt. Both Montoya and Mayor Butt said they do not plan to stop pushing forward and will continue to try new concepts to solve homelessness.