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Oakland, CA — Yesterday marked a watershed moment in the City of Oakland’s efforts to improve the lives of our unsheltered residents. In a ceremonial exchange Tuesday morning, Mayor Libby Schaaf received keys on behalf of the City to a newly refurbished building that will play a vital role in helping to address the homeless crisis, and in the evening, the Oakland City Council voted to approve the Administration’s $8.6 million emergency funding package.

“No one should sleep one night on the streets of Oakland,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “The encampments are unhealthy for everyone, and most of all for those who live in them. We will continue to work with urgency and compassion to upgrade the living conditions for those on our streets. We will also continue to build permanent affordable housing to shelter all residents, prevent displacement, and keep Oaklanders housed in Oakland.”

Details about the rapid re-housing facility and funding package are below:

City Officials Unveil “The Holland” Rapid Re-Housing Facility

The City of Oakland is now the official owner of 641 Grand Avenue, a three-story Arts and Crafts style residential hotel historically called Hotel Holland, designed by famed local architect Julia Morgan and built in 1906. Last night the Oakland City Council approved $800,000 to fund Bay Area Community Services (BACS) to manage on-site services for new residents.

“This facility is one more way that we are inviting people out of the cold, off the streets, and into safety and services,” said Mayor Schaaf. “It is thrilling to be opening a second location of our very successful Henry Robinson Rapid Rehousing Program. Up to 180 formerly unsheltered residents a year will get shelter, services, care, and support on their path to self-sufficiency in this beautiful, historic Julia Morgan building.”

Mayor Schaaf also praised the Council for taking bold moves to respond to the homeless crisis, and acknowledged Councilmember Abel Guillen, District 2, as a champion for acting with urgency to provide basic shelter to our unsheltered residents.

Councilmember Guillen said, “This is truly a milestone in improving the state of our unhoused residents. Because of the generosity of Oakland taxpayers who passed Measure KK in 2016, we put $7 million to buy this building, and allocated another $8 million to complete similar housing projects. We know that this model works in ending homelessness, and we want to continue replicating it to care for more of our fellow residents who are otherwise forced to live on the streets, in our parks, or in their vehicles.”

Innovative and Successful: Henry Robinson Rapid Rehousing Model

Funded by Measure KK, “The Holland” building will serve as a multi-service facility modeled after Oakland’s successful Henry Robinson Center (also managed by BACS) which serves 300 recently homeless people per year and has an 88 percent success rate of placing clients into permanent housing when they exit.

Homeless, single adults, aged 18 and older, are eligible for the program. With 70 units, the facility can assist about 90 individuals at a time, or between 150 and 180 residents per year. The new facility will open and welcome residents in December. With the Winter Shelter transitioning to become a year-round shelter and the Community Cabin site at 6th and Castro closing, The Holland will serve as a vital pathway to get people into housing.

The innovative Henry Robinson Rapid Rehousing model was developed about four years ago to address the growing number of unsheltered, single individuals living on the streets. This approach provides transitional housing for short stays of about 4-6 months. Program staff work to stabilize people; help them get document-ready for permanent housing; connect them to a medical care home, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment; and then focus on placing clients in permanent housing. After people are placed, they are provided ongoing support to keep them housed, including funds to assist with furniture, security deposits, and small subsidies if necessary to ensure their success. To date, 88% of the people who complete the program, who came from the street, end up in permanent housing—a phenomenal success rate. This program is a critical component to end homelessness in Oakland.

The Housing & Community Development Department oversaw the acquisition and rehabilitation of the building, while the Human Services Department will manage the contract with BACS overseeing the day-to-day management.

Oakland City Council Approves $8.6 million Emergency Funding

The State of California recently awarded the City of Oakland an unprecedented $8.6 million in funding through the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). A group of bi-partisan mayors from the state’s largest 11 cities successfully lobbied to add the resources into the State budget, and Oakland was the first city in California to apply.

On Tuesday, October 30, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution that authorizes the City Administrator to use $6.6 million of the $8.6 million in HEAP funds to do the following:

  • Open three new Community Cabin sites (Tuff Shed shelters), providing emergency shelter and services to up to 320 people per year, putting them on a path to transitional and permanent housing. This will:
  • o Reduce the number of people currently living in dangerous, unregulated street encampments in West, Central, and East Oakland.
  • o Eliminate the health and safety impacts those encampments are having on the surrounding community.
  • o Allow the City to relocate unsheltered residents currently living in the encampment located at East 12th Street & 23rd Avenue that will be displaced by the 23rd Avenue Bridge Retrofit Project, as well as the encampments at 25th & Peralta streets, Wood Street, and Hollis & MacArthur in West Oakland, and various smaller encampments in the Jack London Square and Chinatown areas.

The new sites will be located at:

  • 3050 International Blvd (City property)—will serve the unsheltered community living at East 12th & 23rd Avenue, which needs to be vacated by the end of the year to make way for the 23rd Ave Bridge Retrofit project.
  • 3401 Mandela Parkway (Caltrans property large enough to accommodate two Community Cabin sites)—will offer shelter to those living under the 580 freeway at 35th & Peralta, as well as people living in a large encampment on the 2400 to 2600 block of Wood Street. As people transition through this site into housing, additional encampments in the area can also be addressed, including behind Home Depot, the 2800 block of Ettie Street, the 2400-2600 block of Union Street, and others; and
  • 105 5th Street (Caltrans parcel located under 880 from Oak to Madison streets)—will serve the unsheltered from several smaller encampments in the Jack London Square and Chinatown areas. This site could be developed as a replacement to the Castro site, which will be closing in March 2019, as previously planned.

These three new sites have the potential to move up to 320 currently unsheltered people out of homelessness. The cost to operate these sites is estimated at $4.5 million over an 18-month program.

  • Open four managed recreational vehicle (RV) sites in East, Central, and West Oakland that will provide up to 150 RVs (an estimated 300 persons) with secure parking, sanitary facilities, and garbage services. This will also reduce the impact of RVs parking in Oakland neighborhoods without sanitary services. Staff has identified three viable locations for these sites: 1) 3499 Beach Street, connected to 3401 Mandela where a double Community Cabin site is proposed; 2) 711 71st Avenue across from Coliseum BART; 3) 3801 East 8th Street near High Street and I-880; 4) Parking lot located at 11 4th Street; this site would offer wrap-around series and would be a sort of hybrid between the Community Cabins sites and the managed RV sites.
  • Allow the City to enter into an agreement with the Lao Family Foundation to manage a volunteer encampment in partnership with “The Village” located at 1449 Miller Avenue, the former site of the Miller Avenue Library, to provide a safe location for their participants who will be displaced by the 23rd Avenue Bridge Retrofit Project. This would include providing sanitary and garbage service to the site.
  • Contract with service providers to increase the number of year-round shelter beds from 350 to 450, and operate the winter shelter year-round.
  • Authorize an $800,000 grant agreement with BACS to provide day-to-day management of the interim housing program for unsheltered residents at The Holland, the new rapid rehousing facility at 641 Grand Ave.

Mayor Schaaf said, “Once all the sites are up and running, the City of Oakland will have provided beds, shelter, and social services to an estimated 1,000 unsheltered residents within one year—roughly half of the population living outdoors in Oakland according to Alameda County’s 2017 Point-in-Time Survey.

Continuum of Interventions to Address Homeless Crisis

The City of Oakland has been investing in a wide variety of critical efforts to house individuals. Since the crisis has escalated over the past two years, the City:

  • Launched the Community Cabin Program (aka Tuff Shed Program). This model has been an effective and compassionate intervention focused on increasing people’s health, stability, dignity, and safety, while service providers intensively work with people to help end their unsheltered status. With a 63% success rate to date, the Community Cabins are an emergency intervention designed to serve as a temporary bridge from the sidewalk to services, from the street to housing.
  • Worked to create more transitional and permanent affordable housing, including for very low-income residents, funded by Measure KK (City of Oakland) and Measure A1 (Alameda County).
  • Formed an interdepartmental Encampment Management Team that responds to homelessness.
  • Implemented a more coordinated approach to providing services to unsheltered residents that prioritizes those most in need and increased the numbers of outreach workers and housing navigators working directly with people on the streets.
  • Expanded number of winter shelter beds and extended it year-round.
  • Expanded housing navigation and street outreach.
  • Secured large youth rapid re-housing grant.
  • Invested in anti-displacement, rent arbitration, eviction prevention, and critical prevention efforts.
  • Offered financial incentives for Oakland-based landlords to rent to Section 8 voucher holders.
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf joined a 14-city group, “Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment” that aligns business partners with local governments to seek federal money for affordable housing and homeless services.
  • Mayor Schaaf is also part of the Big 11 Mayors in California which is advocating for direct allocations to their cities of state HEAP (Homeless Emergency Aid Program) funds. Oakland is receiving $8.6 million to address unsheltered homelessness.

Background: The Housing Affordability Crisis

In the past decade, the Bay Area added one unit of housing for every eight jobs created, and very little of the housing built was subsidized enough to help people in need. While the homeless population is rising, the federal government decreased its financial support for emergency shelter strategies, and the State eliminated redevelopment funding in 2011, which was the primary funding source cities used to build affordable housing.

California alone accounts for 25 percent of the nation’s homeless population. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of unsheltered residents in Oakland increased by 26 percent.

The last point-in-time count, conducted in January 2017, estimated that there are 2,761 homeless people in Oakland, of whom 1,902 are unsheltered. Details and demographic information can be found at EveryOne Home.


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Media Contact

Justin Berton

Communications Director

Mayor Libby Schaaf

510-238-7072

JBerton@oaklandca.gov

Karen Boyd

Communciations Director

City Administrator’s Office

510-449-4401

KBoyd@oaklandca.gov