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Formerly Incarcerated to get Decent Housing from Governor’s Homekey Program Award

Michelle Snider



Former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown.

Recently Renovated, Former Traveler’s Hotel in Downtown Oakland to be Purchased by Group Including Elaine Brown to House Formerly Incarcerated People 

Led by former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown and others, the 11th & Franklin LLC was awarded $21 million in Homekey program funds to purchase the former Traveler’s Hotel to create homes for the unhoused.

Brown, who is now CEO of the nonprofit Oakland & the World Enterprises, partnered with St. Louis-based developer McCormack Baron Salazar, Oakland’s MPI Homes, and Affordable Housing Associates to purchase the hotel at 392 11th St. in downtown Oakland from owner NDO Group, LLC.

The purpose of the innovative Homekey program is to fund the “purchase and rehabilitation of hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties to convert into housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.”

“There is no population at greater risk of homelessness than people being released back into society, who suffer wholesale denial of housing and employment solely because of their former incarceration, most of whom are Black men and women,” said Brown, who has been an advocate for prisoners for decades. “We are grateful to have this opportunity to provide a place for some of them.”

The building will be renamed The Huey P. Newton.

Partners Ali Kashani, a senior vice president of McCormack Baron Salazar, and Ali Kashani, founder of Affordable Housing Associates thanked Gov. Gavin Newsom, the State Dept. of Housing and the City of Oakland’s Housing Dept., under the leadership of Director Shola Olatoye, not only for facilitating the award process but also for providing $7 Million of the total award from city funds, as required by the State Housing Department.

The group also thanked the Oakland City Council for unanimously approving the City’s contribution.

All participants acknowledged the critical role in this effort of the nonprofit organization BOSS, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, and its Executive Director Donald Frazier.

Frazier worked hard to secure agreements with both the County Probation Dept. and Health Care Services Agency to house the men and women returning to the community from prison.

BOSS is committed to operate and oversee supportive services for the newly-housed residents at 11thand Franklin. Frazier stated he is constantly hunting for decent, affordable housing for vulnerable individuals and families, and applauded this opportunity.