A nonprofit foundation that originated at First Presbyterian Church of Hayward to address the housing crisis was on a national stage in December when its plans for tiny homes in the Hayward area were the subject of a webinar from Washington D.C. by then-US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.
The presenter was Rev. Jake Medcalf, lead pastor at 126-year-old “Hayward Pres,” which earlier in 2020 opened six “tiny homes” as part of a transitional housing program in a corner of its parking lot at the northeast corner of Grove Way and Redwood Road. Rev. Medcalf will address members of the Hayward Rotary Club on Feb. 8 to explain how the local foundation that grew out of that effort is helping communities address homelessness issues nationwide. The church developed the tiny homes project as an extension of its work providing the homeless with warming shelters, food, showers, pandemic response, and other services. Critical to the project was $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, with another $270,000 in costs covered by six home-builders and support of 25 trade organizations. According to the housing industry organization Home Aid, there are 38,000 acres of land owned by faith-based organizations in California that could be considered for such projects.
That first project led to creation of the local nonprofit, Firm Foundation Community Housing, ffchousing.org, that now has “tiny home villages” under consideration by Hayward city officials for additional homes at other church properties and the South Hayward Parish on Patrick Avenue. The organization currently has 34 units under construction off Foothill Boulevard in San Leandro, and another 28 at Crosswinds Church in Livermore.
The organization has a nine-member board of directors that promote their work as guiding owners of surplus land “to help transform their underutilized property into Tiny Home Villages to better serve our neighbors suffering the housing crisis.” The foundation has just received a $1 million grant from Alameda County to provide 50 beds nightly for shelter at the First Presbyterian site and another 25 at South Hayward Parish for the next six months. The funding will also allow development of a resource center for homeless persons Monday through Friday. In addition to Hayward and San Leandro, Firm Foundation is assisting faith-based organizations in East Palo Alto, Livermore, Fremont, Castro Valley, Vallejo and Olympia, Washington.
Rev. Jake Medcalf will be our keynote speaker on Monday, February 8.