Community-led daytime drop-in center in the Telegraph neighborhood.

We are aligned with the activists and experts who advocate for the needs of the unhoused community at People's Park, and beyond.

Together, UC Berkeley, the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and the City of Berkeley will establish a new community-led daytime drop-in center on the church grounds. The daytime drop-In center will be open to unhoused community members that had previously spent time in the park and on city streets. Unhoused persons will be free to drop-in to rest, use a bathroom, get water or prepare a meal, and meet with staff and volunteers of public and nonprofit agencies that provide services to the unhoused community.

The daytime drop-in center opened on June 20, 2022. Now, in its second year of operations, it is a welcoming and safe space for all.

The Governing Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley voted unanimously to partner with the university and the city to establish a daytime drop-in center on its property that provides a safe and inclusive place for unhoused community members to connect with local agencies and organizations that are committed to helping to transform lives. 

An underused church space within blocks of People’s Park will be repurposed to establish the Sacred Rest Daytime Drop-in Center. UC Berkeley will fund the design, site preparation, and construction. Ongoing operations will be jointly funded by the university and the City of Berkeley.

An experienced local non-profit organization, The Village of Love, has been engaged to manage the day-to-day operations of the daytime drop-in center. Their staff will be supported by UC Berkeley’s social worker, the City of Berkeley’s Homeless Response Team, and the Telegraph Business District’s Ambassadors. Together, they will facilitate connections between unhoused community members and service providers.

The Sacred Rest Daytime Drop-in Center will also provide opportunities for individuals and local organizations to participate and to volunteer their services in support of Berkeley's unhoused community.

Designed collaboratively to meet the needs of the unhoused community.

The idea to establish the drop-in center emerged from research conducted by a graduate student from the Goldman School of Public Policy who, working with UC Berkeley’s Homeless Outreach Coordinator, interviewed unhoused community members in People’s Park. A community-led space to freely drop-in, rest, and connect with services was at the top of everyone’s list of essential supports, along with permanent housing.

The daytime drop-in center includes:

  • Public restrooms that are fully accessible.
  • Lockers to secure personal belongings
  • Indoor office area for staff and service providers to meet with individuals
  • Individual and communal outdoor seating areas
  • A communal area for food preparation.
  • Electronic device charging.
  • Pathways and architecture that are fully accessible and ADA compliant.
  • Existing trees will be preserved and new plantings will be added.

Sacred Rest Daytime Drop-In Center has been designed in collaboration with the First Presbyterian Church, the City of Berkeley, non-profit organizations that operate similar drop-in centers, and UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus and Architect Sam Davis, who has extensive experience designing affordable housing and facilities for the unhoused.

UC Berkeley’s Homeless Outreach Coordinator led collaborative planning sessions with campus leaders, church leaders, City of Berkeley department heads, and community organizations that serve the unhoused community, to develop the programmatic plan for the services that the daytime drop-in center will provide.

We are encouraged by this multi-pronged approach to address the needs of the unhoused population currently staying in the park—particularly the commitment to secure access to shelter and expanded services before commencing construction. Our organization and stakeholders are directly engaged in addressing community needs before, during and after the completion of the project. That includes the daily efforts of our Clean & Safe Ambassadors. This collaborative approach is the most beneficial and positive way forward for the entire community both in and around People's Park.
Alex Knox, Executive Director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District