Throughout our walk, we have seen a number of Las Deltas structures. You can recognize these similar-looking structures that are now boarded up by their tan-brown color. These were once housing for low-income residents. In this point, we will cover what Las Deltas once were, the future development of these properties, the Richmond LAND’s Land Trust and Tiny Homes Eco Village, and the Las Deltas Oral Stories project.
Las Deltas was developed by the Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa (HACCC) in the 1950s and 1960s. It included 214 units of public housing properties spread across 19 acres. The main campus, located in the block between 1st St. and Ruby Ave. (southeast corner) to Martin Dr. and Malcolm Dr. (northwest corner), had 134 housing units, an office, a maintenance building, a Head Start center, and a youth recreational center with multiple programs. The other 80 housing units were in the form of duplexes and single-family dwellings spread throughout North Richmond (Scattered Sites, see map above). Due to underfunding of the decades-long public housing program and the aging dwellings that needed major work, HACCC stopped leasing up units in 2013 to slowly attritionate the property. Between 2019 to 2020 all remaining residents in the 81 households left were relocated.
Since then, HACCC has been working on plans to re-develop the Las Deltas equitably, based on core values defined in the North Richmond Quality of Life Plan (2019). For example, new housing development will give preference to developers that indicate at least 50% of new housing units built on site will be designated as “affordable.” As of 2023, the disposition of the Las Deltas sites is in Phase 1: Below Market Rate ($1) Sale of 16 buildings (28 units). To learn more visit the Las Deltas Re-Develop website.
Richmond LAND uses a different model, working to create a community land trust to ensure that residents, and not private developers, are in control of critical community assets permanently. They aim to empower the community by taking control of land and affordable housing and protect the displaced descendants of African Americans who came to work in North Richmond during World War II and the current Hispanic/Latino population, from gentrification. Richmond LAND’s first acquisition was a triplex in S. 24th Street where they now operate a housing and rehabilitation project, helping stabilize multigenerational homegrown Richmond residents at risk of displacement and homelessness.
You are now standing in front of Richmond LAND’s current project – a Tiny Home Eco Village for low-income residents that will be created by renovating two Las Deltas lots (1925-27&1932 Giaramita St.) into 20-22 high-quality, eco-friendly cottage units equipped with private porches and shared amenities. Their next plan is the Giaramita Street Initiative, a 5-block neighborhood housing development proposed project to acquire 8 vacant parcels to develop multiple affordable housing projects.
As the renovation of Las Deltas takes place, it is crucial to ensure that the stories and experiences of families who lived in and were relocated from the Las Deltas Public Housing sites are not lost. The Las Deltas Oral Stories project seeks to capture these stories through interviews. If you were a resident or had family members or friends who lived at Las Deltas, please share your stories by contacting Hannah Phalen (email@example.com) or Tony Ucciferri (firstname.lastname@example.org).