OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Low-income housing is scarce in Oakland, but one church is taking on the matter and working from the ground up.

Pastor Mark Claybrooks is used raising his voice in song at Acts Full Gospel Church. But lately, construction noise is becoming music to his ears.

“Had no idea,” said Pastor Claybrooks. “This was the furthest thing from my mind that pertains to what a church actually does.”

Acts Full Gospel is the biggest church in Oakland, but like many other churches, they’re losing members.

Housing prices have been pushing many black families to Antioch and Stockton.

“A church must be a part of the city, more than just preaching on Sunday,” said Pastor Claybrooks. “We’ve got to help people get the needs that they have. They have the spiritual need, we’re there. But they have physical needs too.”

Apartment Complex Artist Rendering

So they’re building 59 units of low-income housing on International Boulevard and 94th Avenue.

Now we’ve got a chance to really impact the city in a way that’s profound, Pastor Claybrooks.

The buildings are four stories high. The first floor will be commercial with a community center offering job training.

“We’re naming this project ‘Africa Town,'” said Pastor Claybrooks.

It’s the first time an Oakland church went out to buy land and build a large low-income complex.

12 years ago, a different church built a smaller complex on its existing land.

The city loves it, putting in $7.7 million towards the project. The state and the feds pay for the rest.

Construction will cost roughly $34 million.

We’re trying to revitalize this corridor, explained Pastor Claybrooks. This part of the city, this is the forgotten part of Oakland.

Crews are working on the foundation now. If everything goes according to plan, this project should be done by early 2018.

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