Bruce Damonte

Berkeley Way and The Hope Center is one of the first developments in the nation to merge the full spectrum of shelter, food, and services.

The new community features four housing types—89 affordable apartments, 53 permanent supportive housing (PSH) units, 12 transitional housing units for veterans, and 32 emergency shelter beds. In addition, a community kitchen has served over 75,000 free hot meals to residents and others since it opened last September.

Developed by nonprofits BRIDGE Housing and Insight Housing, the project represents the single-largest infusion of affordable and supportive housing in Berkeley, California’s history.

Bruce Damonte

“The idea is by co-locating all of these services and housing types you create opportunities for connection between people who may come in for a meal but then learn about the temporary shelter upstairs; or they may stay in the shelter and qualify for a transitional or a supportive housing unit or an affordable apartment next door,” says Jon McCall, senior project manager at BRIDGE Housing. “It provides a touch point to address so many different needs in one place.”

The $121.6 million development serves as a ladder for people to move up as their needs change. One early resident has progressed from staying at the shelter into his own apartment.

Developed as a single mixed-use development, there are two six-story buildings joined by interlocking facades and inviting, light-filled floor spaces. One building is Berkeley Way with affordable apartments. The other is The Hope Center with the ground-floor community kitchen, the shelter and veterans housing one floor above, and the PSH units on the upper floors.

A state density bonus law allowed the project to increase the number of people served and housed, and a recent state bill helped speed up the review process during the pre-construction phase.

Officials say the project, which replaced a parking lot, is a new model for others to address their housing and food insecurity in their communities.