Unanimous City Council Approval of Paul's Place
Updated: Jun 4
Three years ago, a dream was born - to replace the outdated facility serving homeless in Davis, CA with a redesigned, updated one and to add permanent supportive tiny apartments.
On June 2, 2020, Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney said at City Council: "I remember all those years ago when Bill Pride, Maria Ogrydziak, Martha Teeter, Reed Youmans sat around at the conference room with our team to talk about a vision they had. And tonight's a big night for them. It's bringing forward a project that our staff is fully supportive of. And it's Paul's Place. A multi-functional facility for the unhoused."
How did this come about? When non-profit Davis Opportunity Village (DOVe for short) wanted to build a Davis tiny house village for those experiencing homelessness, it found no available land. Davis Community Meals and Housing (DCMH) was seeking to update their facility at 1111 H St (above left) and had land dedicated to homelessness. Joan Planell, homelessness consultant for the City of Davis, brought Martha Teeter and architect Maria Ogrydziak from the DOVe board together with Bill Pride, Executive Director of DCMH, with businessman Reed Youmans to birth a way forward with then Davis Mayor Robb Davis and City of Davis Planning. Carri Ziegler, a talented and experienced public relations professional, listened to the process and helped tell the story of the new project that was being brought to life. Ultimately it was called Paul's Place.
Paul's Place was named to honor the father of Bill Pride. He had been in WWII when he was young, was a POW and had severe PTSD. when he came back he was not a happy man, eventually turning to alcohol. When Bill returned home from college, his father was arrested for drunk driven and was overnight in jail. Bill's mom asked him to pick his dad Paul up from jail. Paul Pride never to drank again.
Bill thinks that jail reminded him of being a POW and he never wanted to go back. Bill has seen since then, that there are times and places for individuals living homeless that are like that - when they want to make a change. Bill Pride, with his with toughness and compassion, has a gift for helping be there at that point for those who are living rough from homelessness.
Through Sutter Health's Getting to Zero campaign, Paul's Place was awarded $2.5 million in matching funds. If it could raise the other $2.5 million, it could reach its construction goal of $5 million. Additionally, $2 million was and still is needed for moving expenses during construction and for endowment for facility maintenance. The project has raised a little over $5 million presently from community donations large and small, as well as several businesses and foundations. Donations are welcome.
The Planning Commission's unanimous recommendation on May 13th, 2020 paved the way for presentation to City Council on June 2nd.
The Davis City Council received an unprecedented number of supportive letters for the project (over 140). The letters stated their own and the community support for the project, how it was the humane thing to do, that research shows crime can be lower and property values improved in a well-run homeless project. Objections of it being too close to schools were countered by the fact that there have been no school problems for the 25 years the facility has operated so far. Problems with COVID-19 from a facility with up to 32 occupants were addressed by the observation that Paul's Place gives the homeless a place to shelter-in-place and heal not only from illness but also from the trauma of the street. Parking objections may be revisited a year after opening, and a suggested solution was to explore leasing of spaces from neighboring apartments.
For DOVe, for DCMH, for Davis residents and local organizations, and for those experiencing homelessness, it's a great victory to be on the verge of constructing Paul's Place. And this multi-function, vertical tiny house village in Davis addresses the widespread problem of homelessness with a unique and comprehensive solution. It will be a model to the nation.
Martha Teeter, DOVe Board President