BFHP’s History

This is an incomplete chronological history of Berkeley Food and Housing Project. For a more complete version, click here.

1970       University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley Volunteers begins serving a free meal to those in need and called it The Meal Project. In 1972, The Meal Project is renamed The Berkeley Emergency Life Line.

1984       The Berkeley Emergency Life Line begins providing emergency shelters with the help of a congregational network of Berkeley churches which hosted the shelter at a different church each month. In 1986, The first Board of Directors is formed and the organization incorporates as the Berkeley Emergency Food Project (BEFP).

1986       The City of Berkeley allows BEFP to use the Veteran’s Building in Downtown Berkeley for the Men’s Overnight Assistance Center, the first permanent home of the Men’s Shelter.

1992       BEFP opens the first permanent home of the women’s and children’s Transitional House at 2140 Dwight Way, providing 10 severely mentally ill and formerly homeless women with 24-month supportive transitional housing and intensive case management.

1996       Anti-panhandling legislation Measure O is passed, requiring the creation of day-time drop-in and resource counseling services for homeless persons. BEFP opens the Multi Service Center at Trinity United Methodist Church to provide daytime respite and resource counseling services.

2000       An extensive renovation project is completed at Dwight Way, allowing for expanded women and children’s services including 14 beds in  Transitional House, development of the North County Women’s Center and an additional six-month transitional housing program for women working to move from homelessness into permanent housing. In 2001, the backyard at Dwight Way becomes a beautiful children’s playground and courtyard.

2002        The Russell Street Residence officially opens its doors as a 17-person permanent housing facility for chronically homeless, mentally ill men and women. The RSR Annex, an additional independent living house for four mentally ill adult men and women begins accepting referrals in April 2002.

2002        The Board of Directors officially changes the organization’s name to Berkeley Food and Housing Project, reflecting the agency’s growth and maturation into an organization whose mission is to alleviate and resolve homelessness for men, women and children in Berkeley and which provides a full range of services to meet the diverse needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

2008       The Housing Case Management Team develops to more effectively provide crucial housing services. In our fiscal year ending June in 2009, we assisted 197 men, women and families in obtaining a permanent home — our highest one-year total ever.

2010       BFHP celebrates its 40th Anniversary. The Board of Directors sets its first priority as the strategic initiative to acquire land and build a supportive housing program for homeless men in Berkeley.

2011      BFHP creates new transitional housing program for homeless Veterans at the Men’s Shelter which provides case management, life skills counseling, family reunification support, access to the Veterans Affairs health care system, and assistance in moving to permanent housing.

2013       BFHP receives “Most Improved Program award from EveryOne Home for its North County Women’s Center and Emergency Shelter, where the agency increased its exit rate to permanent housing by 63% and decrease the length of stay by 19% in one year.

2013       BFHP receives $1 million dollar award from the Support Services for Veterans Families (SSVF). BFHP will work with Anka Behavioral Health, Inc to provide homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services to 200 homeless and underhoused veteran households in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano Counties.