Tom Butt
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  Housing First Continues to Transition Formerly Homeless Families to Real Housing
February 23, 2022

The Housing First Initiative, a partnership of the Richmond Mayor’s Office and the Richmond Rotary Club, just placed another family who moved into their new apartment over the Presidents Day weekend. Corliss and her son were living in a rental apartment in Alameda in 2015 but were evicted in a dispute with the landlord.

The family couch-surfed with friends and relatives for several years and stayed in motels, which soon proved too expensive. About three years ago a friend gave her an RV, and she and her son have been living at the dangerous and unhealthy RV camp at North Castro Street and the Richmond Parkway, where just yesterday, another fire destroyed six vehicles, a full sized RV and other debris. Luckily, Corliss as gone by then.

Figure 1 - Castro Street RV Camp

They usually slept in the car rather than the RV because both mother and son are frightened by the mice that scurry around the RV at night, and “rats as big as cats” that prowl outside.

Like many unhoused people, Corliss is employed and has worked full time for the past five years as a personal attendant, providing care for autistic patients. She just has been unable to scrape together enough money to rent a real apartment, including the first and last month’s rent that is a formidable barrier for many.

Thanks to Richmond Rotary members for locating, hauling and assembling furniture for the apartment that Corliss and her son will live in rent free for the next year! Richmond Rotary members will continue to support Corliss in many ways, with the goal of her getting back on her feet and becoming self-sustaining by the end of a year.

Figure 2 - Corliss and son

Figure 3 - Bedroom in new apartment

Figure 4 - Kitchen in new apartment

Figure 5 – bathroom in new apartment.

We are seeking funding to expand this very successful program. If you would like to donate, make a check out to Richmond Community Foundation – Mayor’s Community Fund and mail it to:

Tom Butt, Mayor
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond CA 94804