Anyone who lives or works in Oakland is painfully aware of the plight of our unhoused neighbors. This year, Civicorps engaged in a unique partnership with the City of Oakland and Pallet to build dozens of tiny home shelters for people experiencing homelessness. As some of our Corpsmembers have experienced homelessness, they understand how meaningful a safe space can be. At the end of day one on the job site, they saw the difference they made.
Along with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the San Jose Conservation Corps Civicorps, we earned the National Project of the Year Award from the Corps Network in recognition of our efforts.
While corps are very used to working with government partners and quite often other nonprofits, the project provided a model for how future private-nonprofit partnerships could flourish to help meet the needs of Corpsmembers and the community.
Working on the Pallet project strengthened existing relationships with local Oakland and nonprofit leaders by providing the community with alternative means to address the housing crisis. Local leaders appreciated how nimble, responsive, and quick to action Civicorps was, and were happy to support and celebrate the hard work Corpsmembers put in for their neighbors. We have pivoted numerous times since the onset of the pandemic, and this was another example of our success at being ready to meet the community’s needs and to explore creative new approaches to challenges.
I’m so grateful and inspired to work with Pallet Shelter and Civicorps to stand-up these tiny home sites that will soon transition many of Oakland’s unhoused neighbors into upgraded, dignified shelter with wraparound, harm reduction and trauma-informed services on-site.Nikki Fortunato BasOakland Council President