We were granted a Temporary Occupancy permit on December 23, 2014, and the next day, our first resident moved in. Rudy was a member of the Youth Corps, and he was homeless. He had been living with his mother and her husband in a van. Susie met with him a couple of days later and asked him to be sure to tell us if anything needed fixing in the house, since he was the first person to actually test everything out. She asked him if the bed was comfortable. He said, “Yes. It’s so warm.”
With 22 residential beds, the Rancho Cielo Transitional Housing Village has 8,030 safe nights’ rest per year for Rancho Cielo students or graduates unsafe in their own neighborhood, or, like Rudy, homeless.
Every year, we experience the loss of one or more students to gun violence. It is this danger that compelled the Rancho Cielo Board of Directors to include Transitional Housing in their Master Plan. Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Labor YouthBuild grant, Rancho Cielo students built the Village under the guidance of a Licensed General Contractor and in partnership with Hartnell College. YouthBuild/Construction Academy students achieved their High School Diploma, OSHA-10 Certification, nationally-recognized HBI certificate, college credits, and the pride of building houses that “someone is actually going to live in.” We hope that the Residents take the same pride in living there that the student builders experienced.
To be eligible to apply, prospective residents must be affiliated with Rancho Cielo. The residents must be willing and able to take on the responsibility of living on campus. They must also be willing to participate in the program; this is not just housing. Case management works with each resident to identify barriers to success and connect him/her with services for which s/he is eligible.