FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2022
Statement From Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas On Just-Released Audit of Oakland’s Homelessness Services
OAKLAND, CA – “In 2019, I called for and funded this audit to increase transparency and improve results in the city’s work to address homelessness. Given the public health crisis of growing homelessness, I sought to make sure that the City’s investments achieve the results of housing our unsheltered neighbors. Three years later, homelessness has grown by nearly 25% – from 4,071 to 5,055 – and the answers in this audit show that Oakland’s investments and programs are not achieving strong enough results to address this crisis, nor is the City Administration doing the very basic management of data analysis and contract compliance.
The audit shows that though Oakland’s services are largely reaching the racial groups disproportionately impacted by homelessness, we have far more work to do to ensure that:
- individuals served not only access but remain in permanent housing, and successfully enroll in public benefit programs;
- we have timely, accurate, and complete data and monitoring systems to evaluate our strategies and the effectiveness of our contracted service providers. This is especially important because over 85% of our homelessness funding goes to outside providers – $69 million over the last 3 years.
It is unacceptable that City Administration does not adequately collect, track, and analyze information about individuals’ success exiting services and how long they remain in permanent housing; that must be corrected. The Administration must also immediately improve contract monitoring and compliance systems, demanding of our contracted providers to significantly improve data collection.
At our June 7, 2022 Council meeting, I made a motion, approved by the Council, to begin this process of accountability with our contractors by:
- Requiring our homeless services contract agreements to include clear performance metrics, reporting and evaluation timelines.
- Directing the City Administrator to return with a resolution establishing an evaluation policy – with evaluations to be conducted on at least a quarterly basis – and procedures for homeless services contractors to provide targeted reporting on housing placements, service delivery, and more, to be informed by the findings of this audit.
- Directing the City Administrator, upon publication of this audit, to provide a written review and assessment of the audit findings with a plan, timeline and budget for implementing improvements to be scheduled for a public hearing no later than October 31, 2022 and annually thereafter.
With this baseline information, Oakland must create stronger programs and services with management systems for accountability and results so that we can develop an impactful strategic plan to address the homelessness crisis. Our unsheltered neighbors deserve services that lead to dignity and permanent housing, and our tax payers deserve accountability and results from our investments.”
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About Council President and District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas
Nikki Fortunato Bas is President of the Oakland City Council and represents District 2, one of the most diverse districts in the city. Since taking office in 2019, she has championed community-centered policies and budgeting. She led the passage of the strongest COVID-19 eviction moratorium in the State of California and a COVID-19 grocery worker hazard pay $5 wage bonus covering 2,000 workers in Oakland’s largest grocery stores. She created a fund for community land trusts to prevent displacement and create permanently affordable, community-owned housing, introduced a progressive corporate tax which will be on the ballot in 2022, and led a task force to reimagine public safety in Oakland. She led a budget team that passed a biennial budget which invests millions in violence prevention and alternative crisis response. She also serves on the National League of Cities’ inaugural Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. For two decades prior to being elected in 2018, Bas pushed for worker, environmental, gender and racial justice. She organized immigrant garment workers to win their wages back in Oakland and San Francisco Chinatowns, and she worked in coalitions to raise Oakland's minimum wage with paid sick leave, create living wage jobs on the Oakland Army Base redevelopment project, and reduce diesel truck pollution at the Port of Oakland. Learn more at oaklandca.gov/officials/nikki-fortunato-bas.