East Bay News

Oakland women's shelter in danger of eviction

Monday, August 13, 2012

If it can't come up with rent money by Tuesday, a women's shelter in Oakland may close. The Serenity House has served women in need for around 17 years. But like so many other organizations, the economy has brought hard times.

Women who have abused drugs or alcohol come to Serenity House in West Oakland to get clean. Some just attend the meetings while others are housed and fed by the non-profit.

"Even though they are not able to pay, there are a few clients that have been here for a very long time that have not been able to pay," said client Stacy Harrold.

The director of the shelter didn't want to talk on camera, but clients claim that Serenity House has lost some state funding and doesn't have enough grants to keep it operating.

Ed Hemmat, the owner of the building where the women meet during the day, has not collected rent in more than a year. Hemmat says he's owed about $30,000, "She had meetings with the lawyers and she made promises to pay over time back in November of last year, then December of last year, January of this year and we didn't get any of it."

According to Hemmat, the center is supposed to pay him $2,100 a month. He says he will forgive what is owed to him if the director agrees to make the monthly payments.

The building is located on San Pablo Road, in an area plagued by drugs and prostitution. Some women in need of help just drop in. Others are asked by a judge to choose between the shelter or jail.

"This place has really changed my life cause if I would have just stayed within the jail system I would be just be the same cycle, going around and around. And then they gave the opportunity to come here," said client Monica Shanley.

Serenity House is now appealing to the community for donations to keep it going.

Serenity House Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Serenity-House/110310712413534

Serenity House Address:

Serenity House
2420 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
510-891-0464

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Tags:
oakland, women's health, alcohol, drugs, east bay news, lyanne melendez
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