Birmingham City Council Approves Landmark Transitional Housing Agreement

Birmingham City Council
3 min readJan 12, 2023

On Tuesday the Birmingham City Council unanimously approved a landmark transitional housing agreement, the first step in a new initiative to alleviate chronic homelessness across the city. The pilot program is being called, “Home For All.” The Council approved a bid from Pallet for 50 shelters (that can accommodate two people), five restroom units and three community rooms. These transitional housing units will be available to residents in need of shelter, and will be equipped with heating/air conditioning, bedding, electrical outlets and more.

“I was very proud to be involved with this process today and to see the passion and compassion from each of my colleagues as we discussed this project,” Council President Wardine Alexander said. “It’s very encouraging to see that the City is giving the time and resources to find a solution to a problem that impacts us all. This transitional housing will be the first step to providing an improved quality of life to some of our residents and give them the help they need to find a successful path forward.”

According to the most recent study, unsheltered residents report significant health needs; 75 percent reported substance abuse, 78 percent reported having a mental health condition, and 86 percent say they have issues with physical health.

“This is about public health. As we know homelessness is not just a housing issue,” explained Dr. Meghan Venable-Thomas, Director of Community Development. “Our solutions have to be comprehensive and holistic as we’re thinking about our approach. That means we need to include health services and other support measures.”

On any given day in Jefferson County, there are roughly 950 unhoused residents, with about a third of them sleeping without shelter. The City will be using federal Community Development Block Grant funding to support the program and shelter costs, and is currently seeking proposals from organizations to help provide wrap around services for the residents that utilize the transitional housing community. The cost for the shelters, restrooms and community units is roughly $1 million.

Pallet is an industry leader for this type of shelter and has built 63 transitional housing communities across the United States. As it stands, no locations for the proposed community have been decided, rather the City will be working closely with organizations and community stakeholders to determine where the units will eventually be located. According to the timeline presented on Tuesday, officials are hoping to complete the RFP process for service providers and deploy the units in May 2023. Councilors expressed a need to include community members in discussions on programing, services and location of the new transitional housing community.

“I want the community to understand that what’s being presented is not a silver bullet solution. It is the beginning of a conversation and one that every member of the community should feel like they have a part in,” Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said. “The goal is to actually create a solution that is going to have a lasting benefit on people’s lives…I think there is a moral directive here and we need to be doing this simply because it is the right thing to do. I don’t need any more reason than that to support this pilot program.”

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Birmingham City Council

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