Youth Spirit Artworks will need to find a new location for its village of tiny houses, like the prototype pictured here. Photo: Courtesy YSA

South Berkeley’s Youth Spirit Artworks will search for a new location for its “tiny house village,” after the owner of the San Pablo Avenue lot it had been planning to rent, Katherine Davis, decided to sell the property instead.

Sally Hindman, YSA director, said her nonprofit does not plan to buy the Ohmega Salvage lot at 2403 and 2407 San Pablo.

“After months of work by Youth Spirit leaders and over a dozen amazingly generous professionals volunteering their time, we have an utterly viable model Youth Tiny House Village project that can readily be implemented helping transform youth lives,” Hindman wrote in an email to Berkeleyside. “We will lose no time seeking to identify another site for the project. We ask Berkeley City Council to step up.”

Berkeleyside reported in April that YSA had plans to build 25 tiny homes at the Ohmega site on the eastern side of San Pablo — the business has another space on the western side — with and for the homeless and low-income youth the organization serves. The nonprofit has worked on the project for around two years, partnering with academic, religious and community groups and businesses to draw the designs and assemble volunteer building teams.

Under YSA’s plans, the young people would live at the site with two resident advisors, participate in a job training program and have access to social workers.

In April, Hindman said the project would provide “safe, supportive housing for our community’s youth” amid a homelessness crisis. Tiny houses have been lauded by some as an efficient, cheap way to get people off the streets.

Ohmega’s salvage yard was previously split between the lot in question and the site across the street. The business has consolidated, moving everything to the western lot.

Owner Katherine Davis told Berkeleyside on Wednesday that she had decided to put the property on the market, but did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on her decision.

The tiny-house project was discussed at length at the April 24 Berkeley City Council meeting, where YSA asked the council to waive the typical fees and requirements for the project. Ultimately, the council determined that YSA would need to go through the standard permit application and review process, but directed city staff to “identify the most appropriate and expeditious path for this unique and important project.”

Hindman told Berkeleyside that YSA members were disappointed the City Council “did absolutely NOTHING to support this extremely badly needed privately funded effort.” She said there should be strong support for every opportunity to house particularly African American youth in Berkeley, where rent is unaffordable and the black population has plummeted .

YSA and partners had drawn up plans for 25 tiny houses at the Ohmega Salvage site. Rendering: Dan Edleson/University of San Francisco

Hindman had also said in April that the tiny-house project would be eligible for by-right approval, meaning it would be exempt from the typical permitting processes, because the homes would be on wheels and because the city’s emergency shelter rules might be invoked.

City staff said at the meeting that more research, as well as a safety analysis, was needed before determining what rules the project could be subjected to or not. The emergency shelter status could also require shorter periods of habitation in the tiny houses than had been planned.

At that meeting, Hindman told the City Council that YSA planned to begin building in July and move the first residents in before the new school year began.

Attendees of a reportedly contentious community meeting held by YSA, with Councilwoman Cheryl Davila, city staff and Davis, last week, said many neighbors who came were angry they hadn’t been notified about the proposed project earlier.

Hindman and Davis had not confirmed the plans to Berkeleyside when the April article was published, shortly before the City Council meeting on the project, saying they had planned to wait until they had more assurances from the city and details in place before announcing it to neighbors. Hindman said she believed premature publicity “sabotaged” the project.

At the council meeting, Hindman said she had been “so moved and grateful” to find a site in Berkeley.

“We really wanted to do our project in Berkeley because we’re a Berkeley-based group…many of us are longtime residents of Berkeley,” she said. “We ought to be able to come up with something really fantastic in Berkeley to solve our serious community problems.”

Natalie Orenstein

Natalie Orenstein reports on housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. Natalie was a Berkeleyside staff reporter from early 2017 to May 2020. She had previously contributed to the site since 2012,...

281 replies on “Tiny-house village no longer slated for Ohmega site; lot will be sold instead”

  1. I fought the building department / and the building department won…

    Not very lyrical but accurate…

  2. And? We need cheaper housing in Berkeley if we want the working class community to remain here.

  3. Sally,

    Posting dog photos without comment is spam. It does not advance any discussion.

    You perhaps think it’s a passive way to calm the discussion. It’s not. It’s clogging the threads and shows that you are unwilling to engage substantively.

  4. Should I rent or should I sell?
    If I sell there will be trouble…
    If I rent it will be double,

    Conclusion: sell

  5. No way did that child come up with that poster alone. Adults using children as props. Shame on you for that and not just this time!

  6. Because its a real solution they can’t drag out to gather political capital.
    Look at the $7 mill they spent for the cru building to turn it into a temporary solution. With that same money they could have built an sro or gawd forbid fund small site acquistion which are permanet solutions

  7. It’s absolutely about how we “decide”/allow housing [“how others should live”] to be in this city since this entire discussion is about a person and her followers using taxpayer money & massive variances of laws/fees to create a “village”. We have a right to be involved in the discussion and decisions.
    If you are dependent on others for housing, you have to receive their input and feedback.

  8. Over and over, again and again, surveys of Berkeley’s homeless demonstrate most of our homeless are Berkeley natives. You can write anything you want but it does not make what you say accurate and I bet you know that.

  9. so original . . . I heard adults say that back in the sixties and ever since. You sure seem to feel entitled to decide how others should live.

  10. No it’s not, the level of the black population is returning to its normal historical level by East Bay standards. Other equally as valuable and interesting cultures and ethnic groups are moving in. Times change, cities change.

  11. It’s not a “huge loss” at all, and the 7% is back in line with historical averages. What’s with your weird preoccupation? And what of the interesting diversity that newcomers have brought, such as Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, etc.?

  12. Berkeley is incredibly diverse. You must mean you want more blacks. You might want to check the pre-War stats…there were very few blacks living in the East Bay. Times change, and then they change again.

  13. As someone who knows the industry, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  14. The unemployment rate is at a 20-year low and industrial warehouses, particularly those near east coast ports, are beginning to experience labor shortages as they struggle to find warehouse workers to hire. The lazy sacks of excrement on Berkeley’s streets are welcome to go work in a warehouse for an honest paycheck.

  15. Wow. Sally, we should chat.

    Please don’t take photos and drive. You’re clearly in the driver’s seat there.

    Second, fix your windshield. That’s the second illegal thing in that photo.

    Third, I see nice homes. What do you see? And how is this one single building an example of anything?

  16. Recent Alameda county residents, sure. Shockingly, every single time Bside deep dives unto a homeless person’s story, they washed up from somewhere else. I’m sure Berkeley’s homeless went somewhere else.

  17. thumbs up especially to your P.p.s! Probably realized it’d come back to bite her when she tries this proposal on someone else…

  18. I’ve no idea if this is so …I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners decided to sell rather than rent it because they anticipated a major battle in the future getting the houses off the land when they did decide to sell.

  19. It’s truth that developers set the prices.

    And the market feedback loop which lets the developers know if the prices they set are too high (no applicants) or too low (a bunch of applicants).

  20. Yes … picking numbers from thin air, I’ll do another guesstimate.

    Let’s say a new large apartment building has 50 units, and a 3% vacancy rate … that’s 1.5 vacant unit (they run around in quanta, so let’s say 1 or 2) every month. If it were 25 units and 2% vacancy rate, there’d be a vacancy every other month.

    Thus the only sensible strategy for a property manager would be to always keep the “For Rent” sign up … so they could rent a place or take applications if they’re all currently rented.

    Damn … there I go again … it’s that analytical approach surfacing again.

  21. Aren’t you the defender of our current zoning? Which tells us we can’t live in apartments….

  22. Probably. It feels good to help “them”, but not so good to live amongst them with their different values, lifestyles, etc.

  23. Exactly.

    Ownership doesn’t matter nearly as much as vacancy. If we had a high number of homes used as vacation homes or left empty, then sure it’s a problem. But we don’t.

    Of course, there’s also the, “but all the new buildingd have for rent signs, so they must be half empty and failing, so let’s not build more.”

    And the statistican in me dies a little.

  24. Berkeley has lots of “surplus love.” That’s why we have about 3 or 4 times our share of the homeless based on population. But, even surplus love has its limits.

  25. I think the costs of land and construction in Berkeley aren’t what you think they are.

    I’m curious … would love to know why it matters who invests in building rentals and where they live.

  26. Maybe we should educate Stockton leaders about the benefits of our program of free marijuana for the indigent. Then they can host a lot of new people.

  27. It makes me think of the urban myth of wealthy people from other countries buying up homes in Berkeley and keeping them vacant.

    New York and London, perhaps

  28. Yes. But it’s a gold Rush for homeowners. While everyone else suffers.

    Houses in SJ earn over $100/hour.

    Insane.

  29. Exactly the return I guesstimated a few years ago

    But though facts or facts whether or not la, di or da believe them, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Thanks, Dave

  30. I remember posting a back-of-the-envelope ROI analysis of apartments construction a few years ago.

    My guesstimate of the return was perhaps 6-8%

    I’m curious tell me more the source of your obscene ROI numbers, and what difference it makes who funds the project and where they live?

    I remember going to a tenant meeting in 1974 when I first moved here, and was outraged that rental owners could pay for the buildings in 3-4 years just from the rental income.

    And then I learned how to do the math.

    Ira

  31. If your simplistic view of economics was true, then housing EVERYWHERE would cost the same. Yet we know, for a fact, that new construction in Ohio will be cheaper than here. Or even in a place like Chicago with abundant housing and slower population growth.

    So objectively, the notion that WALL STREET sets prices is nonsense.

  32. Yup. Developer profits are thin—and what yet earned is taxed! Homeowners (like me!) are raking it in on property appreciation thanks to the housing shortage, and thanks to Prop 13, we are NOT taxed on those gains (until we sell).

    IOW, the people making out in this housing environment aren’t developers, but homeowners.

    p.s. I find it eternally hilarious that people think their existing housing was built be benevolent humanitarians.

  33. The thing she had to delete was “well said”? Looks like you got caught on the wrong end of that exchange.

  34. Good. We both agree that the empty lot will make a great place for low income workers of all races and ethnicities.

  35. Just as an FYI, what is happening in the Bay Area is the greatest gold rush in hunan history. Makes the oil giants and steel barons of 100 years ago look like pikers. People wanting a shot at that will pay a lot to be in the center of the action.

  36. Aw shucks here we go with skill set. Better explain that drawing ugly pictures is not a skill set that is going to get you anywhere in the real world. You can get a trained monkey to do the same.

  37. What! My goodnees you so intolerant not wanting as neighbors people who sit around drawing ugly pictures, crying about how unfair life is and begging.! Great let me buy you a beer!

  38. To late. Thats what you were supposed to fo before moving forward.
    But you are so special common courtesy and respect doesn’t apply to you

  39. You are so arrogant. You did what you said you were going to do and ignore the community sentiment. What happened was what i said would. You got caught. That’s why folks in the immediate neighborhood came out and opposed you. What did you think was going to happen? What! That hard working people were going to let you bully them into giving up their quality of life.
    Its bad enough you continually extort money or attempt to from council but the tax payers. Oh please.

  40. Yep its convuent to the liquor store. Just stagger a few feet less chance of falling down

  41. When i was 17 i worked at munchies lived with 3 others in a western addition studio apartment. Tight but wr made due. The thing was i worked. Didnt matter what i worked. Not sit on my ass drawing ugly pictures expecting somebody to take care of me.

  42. Oh, there are hundreds, thousands, who don’t earn “above the area medium income”. Renters, property owners.
    Watch your prejudices.

  43. Does anyone know the laws/ordinances governing the “MicroPads” that Panoramic Housing is supposedly putting up? One story I saw suggested micro-housing (tiny modular units) for the homeless; another suggested they will be rented to students and others for exorbitant prices.

  44. That is exactly what confuses me. There are jobs particularly for twenty-somethings. So what if a bunch of folks have to cram into an apartment to be able to afford it!

  45. awesome! glad we both can agree that you were wrong. The space will make an excellent space for an apartment building for working class people of all races and ethnicities to live in.

  46. Interesting twist and some name calling. Nothing wrong with homeless kids living in Berkeley either. Nothing wrong with everyone — working class, all the ethnicities you named and more living right next door to me, in Berkeley.

  47. Its not like people don’t know how to build housing, there’s plenty of housing going up in places that encourage development. Berkeley is not one of those places.

  48. As I mentioned there is Public Transit in the San Pablo Corridor that has access to BART. The 72 lines and the 72 rapid run like a Subway to El Cerrito or Oakland and I maintain 72 rapid is probably even faster than Bart in certain circumstances.Its true because I take the 72 Rapid all the time. Its great. I maintain that people think we have a housing crisis only because housing near minorities is off limits for the tastes of many of these “progressives.” When I moved here my neighborhood was mostly minorities and scattered gentrification. Now people with a total lack of real estate chops and ingenuity want to draft off everyone else because they “deserve it.” And maybe the reason why they don’t want to live in a neighborhood with a lot of minorities is? I would love to hear a liberal dig themselves a hole trying to pretend they are not racist.

  49. It’s a cute gimmick-probably more humane than the usual government rack and stack ’em methods. In the end, may positively effect a small number of lives-which is admirable. Then she goes off on saving African-Americans like they are ALL in the same boat and need the great white savior. Maybe they just need jobs, which the entire Bay Area thinks consists of laptops and espresso

  50. They LEFT. Middle-class, high functioning residents that happened to be African-American left Berkeley to get more real estate value. The value the residents that are moving in now have nothing to do with asset value but with politics, perceived school district value(actually, BUSD sucks), access to OK public transit. Not all African Americans are hapless, on the Liberal plantation and need “your help.” So many of these post war families sold their homes(which they owned) and moved to Hercules, Vallejo etc. where they got more bang for their buck in housing. I saw it happen in the 90’s. The way you go off on the migration of African Americans is ridiculous-like we moved them like Native Americans.
    African Americans had a very large foothold in South and West Berkeley and chose to move on-many sold their homes(they were not forced out because Prop 13 exists) to new suckers who would pay triple.
    African Americans ARE ALLOWED to buy low and SELL HIGH just like white folks!

  51. what is with you and referring to a community as “traditionally lower class or black” as something bad? If anything you are inadvertently showing off your own racism/classism by continuing to reference traditionally black communities in a negative sense. Guess what there are more ethnicities besides african americans and caucasions in those cities. Where are all the latinos, asians, arabs, indians in your small world view. Or can you not see past your own ideological agenda?

    What is wrong with living in a working class community? That is the proper location to get a fresh start on a low income.The rents are cheaper in Richmond, Oakland, and El Cerrito. Not so much in Albany, Berkeley and Alameda where vacant land is sparse and rents are high.

    Are you capable of using just a little common sense and rationality?

  52. Bustakers are probably engineers- like Google- who make products that the non-bustakers use daily. As in they provide a service that people like-unlike you- unless you are a prostitute or something like that.

  53. The site on San Pablo was no closer to a Bart station than North Berkeley Bart is from Albany. The point is that you chose to mention cities that are more traditionally lower class or black as being more appropriate than Berkeley, which is rapidly losing it’s black population to gentrification.

  54. There is Sally’s dumbest argument to date. She could have said this is a neat, short term experiment to house 20 selected homeless youth who meet criteria…to give those kids a leg up. It’s an experiment for those individuals and that’s fine. Then she goes in her bender about race makeup in Berkeley, and that’s when it becomes social engineering evangelism. She is armed with no facts, pulls the white guilt thing out as ace card and that is a tired topic.

  55. Gentrification occurs when the lemmings follow the pioneers when it’s safe. IE: some college liberal who decided it was their turn to have a family but are too scared to live with “other types of the people.” So if you are so desperate to live with other liberal whites, then pony up the big cash now baby

  56. Exactly, so those neighbors of this project are going to wish like hell this went through compared to the 6 story shadowcaster coming up. How about them apples.

  57. I am in what was predominately African American middle class neighborhood. Almost all single family homes were owned by the families. They were owned by working class people who started during world war 2 in shipbuilding business. With prop 13 there is no real forcing mechanism pushing them out. So they generally stuck around for years until they passed away. In most of the cases I have seen, the children of said families took tht modest appreciation of the asset and sold it to white people. Wow-there’s a shocker. And this is the true gentrification that occurred. Not the comic book, white people took it all away fantasy. Middle-class black families get more physical value from moving to Vallejo or Pinole. The typical white liberal on this board,pining away for the political value of Berkeley(which most minorites that have jobs don’t care about) will now have to lever up and carve up their future to live with other like-minded white liberals. Or they could wise up, get a decent house on the San Pablo Corridor in a town that has more minorities and maybe worse coffee and get in on the cycle of life.

  58. I don’t know any of the people they intend to house during this project. It’s completely possible that the individuals that are enrolled in the program could use the temporary lodging as a stepping stone to employment and housing. The specifics of the programs haven’t been laid out yet so who knows what terms would be in place.

    It doesn’t change the fact though that no matter what the young men/women do they will at some point have to leave Berkeley. There is nowhere for low income workers to live long term that they could afford. It would be better to place the housing site in a community where they could afford housing after the program has ended so that they have a smooth transition to self reliance.

  59. You are looking at median 1 BR apartment rents. Half of rents are below the median. Why would you expect someone making the lowest wage to be able to afford half of the apartments in a state? Seems like if they can afford 10% that would be adequate to find housing.

    Phoenix has whole neighborhoods where the median studio rent is under $550. That’s the median. Which means that half are below that. And the minimum wage in AZ is $10.

  60. That’s not completely fair. Many were renting but when owners moved in or places were sold or needs changed, they weren’t able to rent a new place in Berkeley.

  61. My plan to solve the homeless problem in Berkeley is to tell them all Stockton is giving out free money. 😀

  62. Its almost like you are starting to understand what every developer who slogs through the mess of Berkeley politics to try to build housing has to go through.

  63. You are in la la land. The market that determines rental rates is Wall Street investment standards, which demand very high rates of return (ROI) with no concern for local community standards or need. There are plenty of humans who like to build homes and would do so for ordinary middle class incomes (bay area middle class incomes, I think), that don’t need to deliver high ROI to anonymous out of town investors.

    Why are so many posters here concerned about out of town homeless but embrace the out of town millionaires demanding obscene ROI?

  64. If you had referred to relevant statistics, Dave, you would not be talking apples and oranges, or homeowners of single family homes v. / . . . . . what? What do single family homeowners have to do with this discussion? Are you paid to obsfucate or do you come by that skill naturally?

  65. google for a chart that gives the required minimum wage to afford an apartment in every state: no state has affordable rents for minimum wage. None.

  66. You put YOUR words in my mouth. I did not scold anyone. The same chuckleheads, based on disque monikers, that accuse anyone advocating for anything less than full free reign to wall street investment demending developers are accused of being NIMBYs but when the same folks (or disqus names) don’t want something in their backyard, they go all NIMBY and then NIMBY is okay? I was pointing out hypocrisy, not scolding anyone. You were scolding me, though.

  67. As with so many B’side items, I was just wondering if a key figure of the article (subject or author) would join the comment-sphere. Right on cue; Sally Hindman fails to see the hole she’s dug & uses her keyboard like a shovel to just keep digging.

  68. I can imagine the conversation ‘tween Hindman and Ms Davis. It’d involve the rose speckled “vision”, some guilting, some “guarantees”. Thank goodness reality stepped in.

  69. Sally Hindman also contends that American-American population is lower in Berkeley, which may be a fact. She doesn’t discuss the reasons why. As someone who moved into a minority neighborhood in the early 90’s, when prices got mildly higher middle-class Minorities SOLD their homes and moved to the x-burbs to live the American Dream of a 3 car garage and a larger house. I know it, because it happened in front of my eyes. A lot of these descendants of the original buyers(who paid off their mortgages for decades ) took the house, placed it on the market and took that money where they got more “value” for the dollar. They sold their homes to the new suckers, who are now paying a million. So, that was their choice, and that’s their prerogative under capitalism. I would say younger, white, starter home buyers could also follow those same guidelines. Buy where you can afford, make it a place to stay, recycle the money towards a better home etc. But no, liberals think that they deserve to live wherever they want-and where they want to live is no where near minorities and cannot be a stones throw away from artisanal , cold-poured coffeeshops. The very capable 72Rapid(just as fast as BART on some occasions) goes all the way to Contra Costa College. You can walk out the door and get on it-as opposed to getting to BART somehow, and take that to El Cerrito BART or Oakland There’s a lot of affordable housing stock there. Liberal, hyper development mindset is stuck on cramming as many people in obvious areas and not infilling the just-as-good places north and south of Berkeley. GEE I WONDER WHY?

  70. I do wonder if there is a transitional housing “Habitat” model that her organization could carve out — building on residential lots. Ground rents are what makes housing so expensive these days. I could envision a model where accessory structures are built on private property and granted a limited lease, for say, ten years. After lease expiration, the structure is returned to the property owner, and they can do with it as they please: rent it out as a short (or long) term rental, keep vacant as a guest cottage or use as a studio. YSA provides volunteer labor, construction materials, and expertise in exchange for the limited lease. Youth receive job training, transitional housing and supportive services. The city would need to modify municipal code to allow these types of accessory buildings with a ZC on residential parcels (currently, only full blown ADUs qualify; accessory buildings require an AUP). Size restrictions, lease periods and other details can be written into the municipal code.

  71. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with building a trailer park. But, 1250 square feet are required per unit, among other things. So what commercial lot owner is going to build something that can host a few trailers owned by people that don’t have enough money to pay rent on that space?

  72. And it should be noted that state ADU laws now allow for a manufactured home to be sited on a residential lot as an accessory unit.

  73. Well said

    P.s., note this is in reference to yojimbos comment. Not the now deleted comment they were criticizing

  74. See you write beautiful things like this.

    And then also post pure NIMBYism anti developer anti density elsewhere. (And then delete it)

    I want to support you, but your message is all over the place.

  75. “betcha your uncle was white, so it was easier for him to get a living wage job”

    Ever consider that some people get and keep jobs not because of their skin color, but because they are good, hard, productive workers?

    “Are you saying that folks who need a helping hand should, what, just lay down in a water-filled ditch and drown themselves? ”

    How come you feel compelled to make up absolute nonsense like this, other than you have nothing in terms of facts or logic to support your position?

  76. In the pro formas I have seen, developers are lucky to squeeze out 8% annualized profits. That’s good profit yes, but nothing absurd. Much lower and the development money, which we need to build our homes, goes away.

    And if you want developers to build cheaper homes, we need by right and more density.

    When it takes years of fighting for approval, it’s impossible for developers to justify moderate income projects. They don’t make any money. So they can’t get built

  77. Im addressing your propaganda that developers are raking in profits.

    I find that hilarious because
    1. We’re not building that much
    2. Developer profits are dwarfed by home owner profits due to inflation from the shortage, caused by homeowners fighting development.

  78. Half are above the median, half below. So, 50% are above the area median income.

    In other news, 2+2=4.

  79. Hi Sally, thanks for taking the time to respond. I understand your wanting to get all your ducks in a row prior to unveiling everything, but with property values the way they are and the influx of newcomers and new money pushing the City and greater Bay Area into pro and anti-development camps, everyone is anxious to hear about even the idea of a new project let alone one, God forbid, being granted permit exemptions or housing people for b.m.r.

    It pains me to say this, but the writings been on the wall for a while: I think Berkeley is changing in character to the point where this type of project simply isn’t feasible. Just 5-10 years ago, I think programs like housing at-risk youth were seen as a vital safety net. Now there’s so many with so little, it’s pitted everyone against one another. Just looking through these comments (and I’m not saying this comment board is a good gauge of the City’s character by any means), you find a disturbing amount of glee at others misfortune, selfishness, fear and anger.

    As I noted above, I think there are still several once-industrial sites in Oakland, Hayward, Fremont, which need this type of project and would accept it with open arms. Berkeley, as much as I love it, may no longer have the surplus love to give and may not deserve such a compassionate program. Peace.

  80. Judge Alsup thought Berkeley gave out free money to vagrants. Where would he get that idea???

  81. Good point. Perhaps Sally will let us know which religions are insufficiently great to deserve the love she professes for her neighbors.

  82. On those lines, why can’t people move to “dystopia” and create their Berkeleys there? Why do we have to house everyone that wants to live here because they are entitled to. I just drove through a very space inefficient San Pablo avenue by Contra Costa College which is well served by AC transit. Is it that white liberals don’t want to live by Black people? They need to be by other white liberals and access to 5 dollar cups of coffee?

  83. But she originally wanted to rent and not sell. What I think she did was use this project as a lever to sell to corporate housing development…

  84. It’s an experiment. It doesn’t house enough people to be efficient. It may be a nice environment…maybe. it really depends on the commune law enforcement. It’s a Kibbutz meets KOA meets Holiday Camp.

  85. I just love your incoherency.

    I’m somehow both a greedy developer, pushing for the profit of unlimited development, and a Nimby.

    Home owners are the ones raking in profits. Not developers. Don’t you read? We have countless local articles like SJ homes earning over $100 an hour in appreciation. Just absurd.

  86. You’re in la la Land.

    Developers cannot raise prices above market rate. Setting prices below market rate is extremely rare, for obvious reasons. So yeah, developers don’t get to determine the prices, the market does. And right now, that means Nimby cities setting high prices because of their actions limiting supply.

  87. And it is a fantasy to believe that developers can set any price they want and the consumer has to pay. If it were that easy, everybody would be a housing developer.
    If developers actually had the ability to set prices according to their whims, the monthly rent for a one bedroom in Berkeley might be 10k, 20k, 30k…. or even 100k per month. Why not a cool million?
    Clearly, that is not the case.
    Out here in reality, prices are determined by supply and demand.

  88. The young people in Berkeley of all backgrounds have every possible opportunity. If you are importing “youth” from outside of Berkeley so that you can house them inefficiently and expensively while indulging your delusion that they will become self-supporting artists, well…this is all about you right? Auto repair is at least a marketable skill, but since you can’t provide that training…

  89. Not for the middle class blacks who sold and moved to Pinole and Hercules. Less gang BS and they got paid too. Huge win!!!!

  90. Minor correction…Arreguin supporting affordable housing isn’t relevant here. This is not an affordable housing proposal. It’s a vanity project by a narcissist

  91. I guess so. But rather than shame and scold people who own property in Berkeley, myself included, feel free to offer your own space to Sally for development.

  92. Why doesn’t Sally buy a piece of land for her little experiment? Am I
    missing something here? Why should anyone rent space to her for this?
    There seems to be an assumption that a business would just roll with
    that. Or that maybe an apartment building landlord with extra land would let her squeeze a few units onto the perimeter. When was the last time such a thing occurred in Berkeley? Perhaps the stigma associated with being called a racist, or someone who us unfriendly to the homeless, is enough to pressure some businesses here into giving up some “property rights.” As is “property rights” is a pejorative term.

  93. I refuse to take money away from my family to pay for the whimsical living preference of drug addicts or able bodied people declining to move someplace where their skills align with wages and housing costs. I’m willing to take money from my family to pay for housing for the disabled, but again, they don’t get to take 5x just so they can choose where to live. I.e. if it costs me and my neighbors $500 in new taxes to house Berkeley’s disabled in Berkeley, but only $100 in new taxes to house them in a cheaper area, I vote for $100. Becoming disabled then moving here for the does not count as “Berkeley’s disabled”.

  94. I think thee doth exaggerate. We do not have ‘literally thousands sleeping on our sidewalks in Berkeley and surely you don’t expect Berkeley to sold the homeless challenges of the entire East Bay? Hyperbole much?

  95. Geez, Reverend. no one called you a fool for the Lord. I think you have a fever for those tiny homes and homeless kids and that’s great but I think you need to adjust your goals to fit reality. We are not a relilgious state. Not yet.

  96. what you wrote, Dave, is not really why developers build the same boring boxes. If developers submited reasonable plans and held expectations for modest returns on their investment with middle class wages for the investors and the building workers, the rents would not be so damned high. They build boxes because they are cheaper than beautiful architecture. Delude yourself if you must but boxed apartments are about money, notthing else. . . and investors return. and if developers weren’t so greedy and made real investments in the communities they hope to cash in on, there wouldn’t be years of hearings. The investors drag it out with their outrageous demands, their reluctance to give any community benefits, their insistence that for a few years work, they are entitled to tens of millions on a monstrosity like Harold way, which privatizes one of the most famous views in the world that belongs to all of CA but a few investors think they should get to privatize and cash in. . . I know I have veered off course. . . . but you sure sound like a developer, a greed-based wall street standard investor and a NIMBY Dave.

  97. Ah, Paris is a city loaded with six story apartment buildings and it is considered a very beautiful city. Sally, I am grateful you exist and grateful your work hard for homeless youth. I also think you are unreasonable in your expectations. It is not up to you to declare the building you showed above is ‘yuck’.

  98. it is a fallacy to suggest developers do not set the prices. they most certainly do. their prices have to meet the demands of wall street swindling investment returns and don’t really have anything to do with a local housing demand . . the market demand is investors packaging deals for investment banks posing as developers

  99. the project is misnamed. it is 100 temporary homes for homeless youth, not homes and it is not an efficient use of land in the city. build an apartment building or even SRO. Let go of the quaintly charming tiny homes fad and get practical.

  100. Rev Hindman did give a straight answer, full of data. Read this thread again, esp Hindman’s comments with the data.

  101. I’m weary of the misleading trope that there are places with cheaper rent so folks should go there. Such places have much lower paying jobs, often tighter job markets. If one is earning the actual federal minimum wage but apartments are a few hundred bucks a month cheaper, the person working FT at fed min wage still can’t afford rent in Nowhere/FlyoverLand

  102. I wonder how many poor there are in Berkeley v. people earning above the area medium income? I think the ‘haves’ have it.

  103. betcha your uncle was white, so it was easier for him to get a living wage job, he was not subject to redlining or the agreement Berkeley had well into the seventies that downtown businesses would not employ blacks. I am glad your uncle lived a life he chose and was able to remain independent. Are you saying that folks who need a helping hand should, what, just lay down in a water-filled ditch and drown themselves? stngythng seems like a good name for you. Have you heard about the famous religious figure who said feed and cloth the poor, that which you do to the least of my brothers you also do unto me? Or are you jake with your Uncle living in a boarding house his whole life, never asking anything from anybody? Was he happy? Was he loved?

  104. I’m sorry, I like the YSA Tiny Homes idea, but to complain about adding dense housing stock at the same time is breathtakingly obtuse.

  105. This is just sad.

    I’m almost with Sally Hindman.

    I think this project was amazing. But I understand it was probably impossible without waiving normal permitting processes. (How many tens of thousands in fees for that? And we wonder why housing is expensive.) I digress. How does the city react to a project, designed to be relatively temporary, providing quick housing to a vulnerable population in the middle of a housing crisis?

    “You want to house people for longer than 6 months, that’s a technical violation of the emergency shelter rules. So you don’t get housing here.”

    Housing secure politicians deny housing. Typical and sad. Then times 10 for it being denial of basically shelter housing. Times 2 for it being Arreguin, who run on promises to support affordable housing and then does this.

    Now, I diverge with Sally based on her comments here. She seems to attack developers (for working to get paid) and the little bit of housing we have built recently. She wants easier zoning for her project, but then complains about that same zoning allowing other houses.

    We have a massive shortage. We need more homes. To get more homes, we need upzoning and faster or even by-right processes. Shame on our politicians for not allowing this with waived fees.

    p.s., this could have been a potentially great use of the site during what could be a years long process to get a permanent midrise approved.

    P.p.s. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret sallys actions since my post. She’s deleted some of her Nimby comments and replaced her photos with one of various POC. It seems questionable to me.

  106. My family came from Cuba… if you want a strong regulated housing market; be my guest and go to Cuba, or bring communism to USA!!

  107. Sally, what exactly did you mean by “Berkeley young person”? Someone who was raised in Berkeley?
    I would love for my kids (all born in Berkeley) to be able to live in Berkeley when they get into their 20’s … but it is hard for me to imagine how they will be able to afford housing here until they get well established in careers. Most 18 – 25 year olds would find it very hard to pay 3000/month in rent (or even 2000, for which one can still find a studio or in-law) … but this does not mean Berkeley tax payers should pay for the housing of everyone up to age 25. If families badly want to stay together in Berkeley, wouldn’t it be more reasonable for the family to live together under one roof rather than under several roofs? If my kids want to be here when they get older, I can’t imagine making them go live on the street … I’d either invite them to live with me, or encourage them to move to somewhere they can afford … or we could all pick up and move. The street seems a miserable option, and being dependent on the city of Berkeley does not seem viable.
    I do really like your tiny house project and see its appeal from all sorts of angles — but I question why it needs to be in such a VERY expensive city.

  108. Many of the “bus-takers” are probably not older than the cohort you’re working with. The difference is the bus-takers did their homework, learned useful skills, and got a job. Perhaps some of your group were the ones calling the bus-takers nerds and making their life miserable in middle and high school. Well, the bus takers are now on top. Great. They’re the type of people I want for neighbors.

  109. Its a model that can be replicated! A vehicle for engaging the community and people needing housing in envisioning and creating affordable housing thats an alternative to tents, able to go up in less than two years.

  110. the three cities I mentioned all have Bart stations. So the young individuals can commute to a job. Alameda does not have a BART station does it? Albany is just as expensive as Berkeley with even less space. Can they do more? Sure. A plot of sheds is not going to help in the big picture though. The three cities also don’t have incredibly difficult government beuraracy to wade through.

  111. clearly irrelevant comment, as your little commune would [kinda] house less than 25 people, and does nothing to cure the influx of homeless looking for whatever….
    In any case, your romantic architectural rendering has been squashed by reality

  112. That would be the way Hindman operates. There is this “I know better, so don’t ask or input, just give thanks” attitude she brings. Alienates her pretty good program through her utter self obsession.

  113. Uh, apartments in cheaper places are $400 per month. Minimum wage even in those places is $7.50 an hour. That is less than 30% of income on rent. Get out a little more.

    Tighter job markets means its easier to get a job. It means there is upward pressure on wages. Sounds perfect for someone with few to no skills who needs a basic job to get some experience and show that they are reliable and diligent, a stepping stone to higher paying jobs. YSA is not a stepping stone to anything.

  114. East Bay! 2,700 documented people sleeping in tents just in Oakland and that doesnt count anyone in Berkeley, Emeryville or Richmond.

  115. It’s about where it was in the 1950’s. And average for the state of California which is 6% African American. What’s your point?

  116. Whatever. Independent of all that, an SRO with shared bath is actually a financially plausible low cost housing solution.

  117. 100 homes for homeless youth campaign=50 units of dedicated, permanent supportive, affordable housing for youth; 25 units in 5 renovated group houses for youth with 5 units each; & 25 Tiny Houses in a youth Tiny House Village.

  118. Forgive me for not knowing your particular background but why are you focused solely on African American youth?

  119. Berkeley has gone from being a community with 27% African Americans to now 7%. That’s a huge shift. A huge loss!!!!!!!

  120. Yes, That fits more people than a few tiny houses. And it even brings more business and revenues for Berkeley.

  121. Since the cities mentioned were more “working class”, more “black” than Berkeley — I notice Albany was not mentioned, or Alameda, — I stand by my designation as classist and perhaps racist. And I live a few blocks away from the site. The houses in our neighborhood are being sold for more than a million dollars. Something none of us every expected. Gentrification is happening at a rapid rate as those people who have the kinds of high paying jobs where they can afford to pay a million for a house buy the houses in the San Pablo area.

  122. Had a single Uncle who lived in a Rooming/Boarding House his entire life. Worked great….
    but then he had worked since he was 12 and died on the job at a hard, physically tough job that he loved (and they loved him). Didn’t ask for ANYTHING from ANYBODY.

  123. Because the goal is not housing but profit making. She hopes the city would give her thousands of dollars for this flim flam.
    Can’t do that with traditional housing.

  124. Its a stupid and arrogant plan. Glad to hear council refused to give them tax payer money which benefits no one except hindman. Hey you do know McDonalds is hiring don’t you?

  125. “blaming the press for premature exposure when it’s been in the works for 2 years is essentially saying, we tried to sneak it through so the neighbors wouldn’t know what hit ’em but they had to write this article alerting folks to our plans.”

    To clarify, Devin: Youth Spirit had done significant work on its youth-driven and designed Tiny House prototype and on broad youth program priorities before learning about the Ohmega site on Oct 28th, but a great deal of more specific work was needed after a site was identified with parameters.

    Our Team had not in any way finished the work needed on our arch plans, program model, or detailed financial plans at the time Berkeleyside published its piece. We had at least two months more work needed in order to be able to clearly communicate project specifics.

    Both Katherine Davis & myself made it clear to Berkeleyside we were still in the planning stage with specifics. But Berkeleyside was relentless in wanting to put something in the newspaper. They wanted the “scoop” on a story that would be controversial.

    We in no way planned to “sneak something through,” but rather our intention was to have enough project specifics that we could communicate clearly & articulately with neighbors and local businesses the project vision and these specifics, in a thorough & transparent manner.

    Among these, we wanted to be able to know the indirect supports the City would be able to provide this project, in which $1.25 million would be raised from private sources, increasing available housing for transitional aged youth by 81 percent. And we needed to know whether the City would be willing to provide services money for staffing.

    I hope this helps clarify that despite the work we had done on this project vision we were not ready for a newspaper article to be published before we had finished doing needed homework & could responsibly outreach to neighbors & businesses.

  126. Chill dude/lady? San Pablo isn’t a rich wealthy area. So you lose there. Racist? You should be more careful throwing that word around. It has no relevance here. Space in Berkeley is at a premium right now. A vacant space like that would be better suited for apartments rather then a few sheds. There are plenty of places to try this experiment that are in neighboring cities that are still along transit corridors. It’s not racist or classist just realistic. Really, what is it with people and treating anything outside the city limits like some kind of dystopian hellscape.

  127. Lived there, and guess what: it’s pretty d**n diverse. May not be “African-American” dominant, but certainly multinational, some poor, some rich.

  128. absolutely. This is exactly the thing that helped lower rents in historic boom times. Not everyone needs a “family-size” dwelling. Full micro-units are great too.

    Variety is good.

  129. “ugly, non-descript…characterless six story buildings” – do you realize that the limited multifamily we do build looks the way it does because of the process you defend.

    When developers know every project will face the same pointless barrage of years of public hearings and people nitpicking every detail, they go with what seems like the safest option. the kind of building that was approved previously. So they all end up looking the same.

    Make it by-right with some reasonable objective design standards and you’ll get variety.

  130. Have you ever asked one of those folks camping under the freeway what they would need to be able to work and live in an affordable place?

  131. “out-of-town” – that’s a new attack. So now we discriminate against legal residents.

    “developer- who-made-big-dollars-putting- up-a-for-profit development” – How do we expect us to build to our RHNA goals, which are getting bumped, without profit driven developers? Why the shaming of developers? They don’t set the prices. The shortage does.

    If you read the statistics, you’d know that HOMEOWNERS get the vast bulk of the profit in the current low-density system.

  132. Paris has block after block of similar-looking 6-story buildings. Makes for a nice environment if done right.

  133. “Yes, lets not build this in our neighborhood — let some other neighborhood — perhaps a poorer neighborhood — do it.” Baloney. Classist and possibly racist. Berkeley needs this as much as the youth need it. Our city will be a better place if we learn to embrace our neighbors instead of shunning them. All the comments against this that I’ve seen here have a “let’s distance ourselves from these people,” attitude. An attitude that has it’s roots in selfishness and greed. (We’re afraid we won’t sell our homes for a million dollars if they move here, etc.) Greed is the root of most of our problems in the world. Greed is destroying our world. And this kind of ugly “us” rather than “them” attitude will destroy Berkeley.

  134. I’m very sorry this project got waylaid. It seems such a good plan, well thought out, and of great benefit to our community. I hope another lot can be found soon. And I, for one, hope it is near my home so that I can possibly volunteer to work with these young people.

  135. We need more models that can serve as replicable examples. Maybe in Berkeley the site we will identify for this Village won’t be perfect, but it can house folks in a configuration with lessons that illustrate what can be done a bit differently the next time. Its SOMETHING. It gets us started. We need solutions to the crisis we are in.

  136. so you propose a thousand tiny homes??? complete with landscaped grass, garden features….

  137. We have literally thousands of people sleeping on our sidewalks here in the East Bay. They don’t seem to be moving to the Sierras!

  138. so, you’re now advocating your version of a tiny village as a permanent alternative to a six story building?
    wrong place, wrong time

  139. Romantic, unrealistic –except, perhaps, in the deepest parts of the Sierras. Clearly no need to be near a city as they’re not working…..

  140. Don’t believe it. Are they “Berkeley young people” because they grew up and went to school here or did they travel here and hang out in the streets, thus becoming Berkeley people.

  141. We were never presented a list of questions like that and this is the first i have heard of one. We have been and are still happy to answer every question posed to us regarding this proposed project. We passed out detailed info about the project on May 5th at our first 3 hour long Community Meeting.

  142. I’m moving into that area this month. I’m disappointed that my neighbors disapproved the project. Had I already been moved in, I would have supported this project. I fail to understand why they don’t like it. I’ve spent a decade living in an area of Berkeley where it wasn’t uncommon to see homeless around. As far as I’m concerned, having this small village is a great idea.

  143. As variables needing to be worked out in order to see whether and how the project could be viable. We still fully intended to do a complete outreach effort involving the neighbors & local businesses. We had been told by City staff that the project was “by-right” for six months as emergency shelter but we very much hoped to work with the neighbors so that they truly loved what we were doing and felt supportive of the Tiny House Village.

  144. There’s also the alternative: use more communal housing instead of isolating isolated “youth” in pretty little non-permitted sheds -not that I think 23, 25 year olds should be able to come to that party at all.

  145. “our community’s youth” -not.
    and
    “the City Council “did absolutely NOTHING to support this extremely badly needed privately funded effort.” She said there should be strong support for every opportunity to house particularly African American youth in Berkeley, where rent is unaffordable and the black population has plummeted .”
    -guilt trip, much?

  146. Our society does not base its policies on “deserve”. I can’t begin to imagine the level of corruption that would create. Our current ststem looks clean in comparison.

  147. Rev Hindman seems to believe she just has to declare something by her fiat and since she believes she is right, the city should just fall in line with her thinking. It so doesn’t work that way, Sally.

    I was at the last council meeting where this project was discussed and I had shown up because of this project. But listening to a description of the plans, I was no longer a supporter.

    I don’t think little houses are a viable housing solution in such a densely inhabited space like Berkeley. They are cute, trendy, even adorable but they are not viable housing solutions. Why doesn’t Ms. Hindman and her nonprofit try to build an apartment building with small studios and job training on site?

  148. Thats assuming an equitable playing field we are a very, very long way from achieving.

  149. Finally, you nailed it. Property owner decided to sell. Property rights.

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

  150. Let me ask you this, do you want to live in Marin County, which is 2.8% African American? We are at a 7% Afr Amer demographic now in Berkeley & long time residents are being displaced at a rapid pace, replaced by Facebook & Google bus takers. Is that the diverse community you seek? Who deserves to live in Berkeley?

  151. As I understand it, the neighbors compiled a list of reasonable questions that were not answered.

  152. But–but–you went to City Council to get variances and approval before meeting with the neighbors.

  153. Anyone 20+ y/o has the ability to move to a city where they can afford housing. If they haven’t a skill set -that’s on them. Do not try to guilt those who work hard, earn a living, and can afford to live here, to pity those in their twenties who haven’t done what they need to do.

  154. Are the youth that YSA serves homeless Berkeley youth whose families are unable to house them or who are in danger in their homes? Is this a condition of living in the tiny houses, or could they be filled up by, say, twenty five 24 year drifters from New York or Texas? How many of the current youth that YSA serves are Berkeley kids fleeing their homes because they are being mistreated? Could someone give a breakdown of current ages and city of origin of the currently served youth?

  155. The Tiny House Village is part of Youth Spirit’s “100 Homes for Homeless Youth” campaign, which includes 25 Tiny Houses, 50 dedicated housing units for youth in a traditional affordable housing project, and 25 units in five converted, renovated “group houses” of five units each. Since creation of the 2nd 75 units may take seven to ten years to complete, our intention is first to work to build a 25 house Tiny House Village, which is able to be up and running, housing youth within an 18 month period.

  156. As of Dec 30th 2017, Youth Spirit’s 2017/18 participants were 76% Berkeley young people. The intention with this project is to house local Berkeley youth, ages 18 to 25, youth working hard to achieve their vocational & personal goals. The displacement of long-time Berkeley residents (including their kids and grandkids) due to our $3,000/mo housing costs is a huge challenge destabilizing the lives of hundreds of local young people, who truly deserve to be able to stay in our town to live and achieve their goals.

  157. > All the great religions of the world in one way or another in the end call on us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

    This is not true.

  158. They need to build up, not build small. This is a city not a rural area with vast land. Derp.

  159. yes; not appropriate in the middle of the city; clearly not since they were asking for waivers. I’ve seen many architectural renderings and the common variable is how little they have to do with reality.

  160. Have you seen the architectural renderings? This would be a beautiful, highly livable, safe and definitely TO CODE living community.

  161. electricity? kitchen? municipal water hookups for sewage? fire safety?
    Do they pass city codes?
    at best, an RV without the engine…

  162. All the great religions of the world in one way or another in the end call on us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” And so if fighting to get Berkeley to go the second mile to try to DO MORE to house people in need in our community earns the label “sanctimonious & impractical,” so be it. The situation we find ourselves in with hundreds of people camped on our sidewalks in tents, and sleeping ten people in one bedroom apartments, is absolutely inhumane and unacceptable. The gap between the rich and poor in Berkeley is utterly wide and there is much more we can do to tackle the challenge before us.

  163. The Tiny House prototype that YSA Leaders designed and spent months constructing are by no means sheds. They are aesthetically beautiful and very high quality.

  164. SPOILER ALERT
    I understand that Ms. Hindman is going to be the recipient of Berkeley’s Most Impractical & Sanctimonious Citizen of the Year Award for 2018. Congratulations to Ms. Hindman, as there was a lot of competition again this year.

  165. It says in the article that the owner of the property wants to sell rather then rent….so yeah, property rights.

  166. 5 story building without parking with 10×10 foot SRO rooms with minimal kitchen and shared baths. Rent will be $500 per room.

  167. It’s a shame as it seemed like a good temporary fit until a larger, denser project could be built but Sally Hindman does herself no favors. Expecting Berkeley planning to make exceptions in a timely fashion is pie-in-the-sky fantasy and blaming the press for premature exposure when it’s been in the works for 2 years is essentially saying, we tried to sneak it through so the neighbors wouldn’t know what hit ’em but they had to write this article alerting folks to our plans.

    I hope they find another suitable plot and get approval from the City and neighbors – it’s a model I’d like to see replicated, especially for properties where excavation and zoning prohibit larger projects (old gas station lots, haz mat sites, industrial areas of Oakland…etc)

  168. “We really wanted to do our project in Berkeley because we’re a Berkeley-based group…many of us are longtime residents of Berkeley,”

    Those two reasons make the site a convenient location for them but not necessarily a smart choice for the existing community. There are plenty of ideal locations in oakland, el cerrito and richmond that would be better suited for this sort of project.

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