The available census data shows that upward of 20 percent of Oakland residents live below the poverty level. In partnership with Rebuilding Together Oakland, Wendel Rosen staff and attorneys have rehabilitated housing for some of Oakland’s most vulnerable residents.

The Problem
Low-income residents of Oakland, California face a dual threat when it comes to housing. A turbulent economy may undermine their ability to pay for or maintain their homes, while rents and mortgages become unaffordable in better economic times. The available census data shows that upward of 20 percent of Oakland residents live below the poverty level – a group at the greatest risk of living in dilapidated homes that may be classified as “blighted.” The elderly and disabled are especially vulnerable. At Wendel Rosen, we believe that this impacts everyone who lives and works in this community.

The Wendel Edge
Since 2005, Wendel Rosen has partnered with Rebuilding Together Oakland (RTO), an affiliate of the national non-profit Rebuilding Together, to provide rehabilitation services to the elderly and disabled and support non-profits serving low-income communities. Wendel Rosen’s commitment to RTO goes beyond a single-day “community service” event. We choose multiday projects that will have a lasting impact on the people whose homes we repair. A desire to create positive change is in our firm’s DNA, so everyone – from top firm management through all levels of staff – participates. We recruit friends, family and clients to join us as we roll up our sleeves to renovate and rebuild housing for homeowners in need. As part of our commitment, Wendel Rosen’s volunteers perform at least three dollars-worth of work in Oakland for every dollar that RTO spends. Beyond the annual work days, Wendel Rosen partners have served on the RTO board of directors since 2005.

Problem Solved
The challenges facing low-income residents in Oakland have not disappeared. However, through our partnership with RTO, we have renovated numerous single family homes – helping to make a difference for some of our community’s most vulnerable members. In 2009, Wendel Rosen recruited more than 100 volunteers to renovate Clausen House, a historic building in Oakland that serves more than 180 developmentally disabled adults. Our volunteers implemented a complete site improvement overhaul, allowing Clausen House to focus its resources on client services.