Watch CBS News

Affordable housing complex opens in Oakland, thanks to community efforts

Low-cost housing complex opens in Oakland thanks to church-government-NPO collaboration
Low-cost housing complex opens in Oakland thanks to church-government-NPO collaboration 03:50

City officials and community leaders held a grand-opening ceremony Thursday at Acts Cherry Hill, a 55-unit, affordable, mixed-use development on International Boulevard in east Oakland.

Many living in the apartment complex moved in last August, applying through a housing lottery. They were chosen out of about 5,000 applicants, according to the apartment's residents and staff.

Many credit the opening of the Cherry Hill Apartments to Bishop Bob Jackson, the senior pastor at Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ. However, Bishop Jackson credited the late Charles Hill.

"I'm getting a lot of kudos, wham whams, and fuzzies, and I appreciate all of them. But actually, the man who deserves it all is Mr. Charles Hill," Bishop Jackson said. "Mr. Charles Hill came and told me about a vision he had for the dilapidated area in east Oakland that nobody seemed to want to do anything with."

The Acts Cherry Hill Apartments are dedicated to and named after Cherry Hill, wife of Charles Hill. She passed away in 2003.

"She didn't believe in the word 'can't,'" Bishop Jackson said. "Behind every great man is a greater woman."

At the ceremony, Oakland Mayor Sheng Tao promised she "is going to be committed to East Oakland", and spoke about the need to build more housing for Oakland residents.

"We need to keep Oaklanders in Oakland," Mayor Sheng Tao said. "People choose to come here to live in Oakland because of our culture. And guess what? Our culture is our people. So, you can't say you love our culture, then want to displace our people."

Lachanda Greggs was born and raised in Oakland, but was homeless for years until she moved into the Cherry Hill Apartments last August. A single mother of six children who suffered from a stroke two years ago, she called it "a blessing" to be one of the 55 people chosen to move into the apartment complex.

"I cried so hard. Because what are the odds? Here I am, a stroke survivor, single mother with my kids with one that's supposed to be going to college. And they pulled me out of 5,000-plus people on a lottery," Greggs said. "From going to a shelter to having a roof over my head. You know, (my favorite part) is hearing (my son) say, 'Get out of my room! Close the door!' Hearing my kids finally say 'Get out of my room.'"

Greggs said she was living in hotel rooms, then was living in a shelter in Hayward when she applied to the housing lottery. An unexpected outcome of securing housing was the ability for her daughter to go to college.

"She was kind of like, 'I'm not leaving my mom. She had a stroke. She's got my siblings. I'm not going to college,'" Greggs said, before recalling what she told her daughter. "No, yes you are. We're going to be okay."

Living a floor below Greggs is Ernestine, who was also homeless before securing housing through the lottery system.

"I cried. It was a blessing. A big blessing to me because I was homeless, (moving) from one family members to another family in their house," Ernestine said. "I love the quietness (here). It's very secure, which I like. And it changed everything for me because most places you move into, you don't know what the outcome's going to be. But here? I can be here forever."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.