Former CCA student dorm to become city-owned transitional housing and home for very low income seniors

Receives $10 million grant from state's Homekey program to help fund purchase
Monday, September 21, 2020

With the receipt of a $10 million grant from the State of California's newly-launched Homekey program, the City of Oakland is now primed to move ahead with the purchase the former Clifton Hall dormitory from the California College of Arts.  The building, built in 2005, located at the corner of Clifton and Broadway, and the recipient of an architectural award that year, was put up for sale in connection with CCA's moving its campus to San Francisco.

Initially, the dormitory building was part of a redevelopment package for the entire CCA Oakland campus, including a 19-story market-rate housing building.  When the development team decided to downsize the development, their option to include the dormitory expired. It was dropped from that project and put on the market for separate sale.

Council member Dan Kalb had pushed to have the dormitory used as affordable housing. He  succeeded in convincing the City to put forward a serious offer for its purchase; an offer that CCA accepted.  In addition to the Homekey grant, funding for the purchase and reuse of the building will also include money from the City's own affordable housing funds.  The HomeKey grant program, part of a $900 million program as part of Governor Newsom's recently-enacted budget, provides funding  for innovative publicly-owned affordable housing projects.  The purchase price is $13 million - expensive, but still below the building's appraised value.

The 45,000 sq.ft. building will include a total of sixty-three units.  The first floor will be devoted to transitional housing, including supportive services, for 12 previously-homeless families.  The two upper floors will be used as permanent housing for extremely low income elderly individuals or couples in what had been dormitory rooms. It is expected that there will be shared bathroom facilities for those rooms - as was the case when it was student housing.  There likely will also be shared dining facilities.  The ground floor will hold offices for Family Front Door, which serves as the hub for the Coordinated Entry System for homeless families in northern Alameda County.  The City is currently in the process of contracting with an experienced  manager of affordable housing to provide day-to-day management of the permanent housing, which will also include appropriate services.  The building will need minor work to convert it to its new use, and is expected to open early next year

Council Member Kalb said he was thrilled at the City's being able to provide the much-needed housing, which should help reduce Oakland's highly vulnerable homeless population during the pandemic.