Alameda, CA

The City of Alameda Engages Stakeholders on Draft Plan to Help the Homeless

Karin K Jensen

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On August 26, the City of Alameda will present its draft of a five-year plan to address homelessness at the Social Services Human Relations Board (SSHRB) meeting. The plan is titled “The Road Home: A Five Year Strategic Plan to Prevent and Respond to Homelessness in Alameda.”

The plan is intended as a roadmap to:

  • Prevent and reduce first-time homelessness
  • Reduce chronic homelessness
  • Shorten the time an individual or household remains homeless
  • Decrease returns to homelessness

Residents and other interested parties can review and download the draft plan on the City’s website here. The City invites stakeholders to comment on the plan by writing to Amanda Gehrke at agehrke@alamedaca.gov by August 26, 2021, or by publicly commenting at the SSHRB meeting, which starts at 7 pm that evening.

The SSHRB is the board tasked by the City Council with reviewing City policies and procedures around homelessness. Click here to find their agenda and Zoom login information.

Background and History of the Road Home Plan

From 2017 to 2019, Alameda’s unsheltered population rose by 13% to 231 individuals. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic left an even greater number of Alameda families and individuals at risk of or directly experiencing homelessness.

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City of Alameda

The City reports that the County does a point in time count in all cities but because of COVID the last count was in 2019. The 2019 data shows that 3 in 4 people experiencing homelessness lived in the County before they lost their housing, with more than half living in the County for more than 10 years.

Primary causes of homelessness in Alameda County have been identified as:

  • Job loss
  • Mental health issues
  • Substance use
  • Evictions
  • Foreclosures
  • Incarceration
  • More significant structural issues such as increasing rents and lack of affordable housing
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The City of Alameda

In 2018, the City declared a state of emergency regarding homelessness in the community. New programs were launched using short-term funding sources such as the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and CARES Act funding.

These programs include:

  • Homeless Outreach Team
  • Enhanced case management
  • Winter warming shelter, which begins its third season in November
  • Day center and safe parking programs
  • Homeless hotline to coordinate service delivery and public calls
  • Mobile shower and laundry program
  • Emergency rental assistance and subsidies to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless

The City partners with nonprofit and faith-based organizations to provide these services.

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Pexels

In January of 2021, the City of Alameda engaged the consulting firm Homebase to develop a five-year plan to address homelessness in Alameda with the goal of making homelessness in Alameda rare, brief, and non-recurring.

Initial community meetings were held on February 1 and June 10. Participants included the City Council, the Homelessness Strategic Plan Steering Committee, the Alameda Community Development Department, and organizations, individuals, and groups representing the business community, homeless service providers, Alameda residents, City of Alameda staff, and the SSHRB.

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Plan Elements

With input from the above stakeholders, the City identified goals, strategies, and action steps. Plan elements are summarized here:

Goal 1: Secure a Housing Future for All Alamedans

  • Strategy 1.1: Assess and use available public and private land for housing
  • Strategy 1.2: Protect and expand affordable housing through local policy
  • Strategy 1.3: Coordinate Short- and Long-Term housing solutions with the County and neighboring cities

Goal 2: Increase Access to Homeless Emergency Response Services

  • Strategy 2.1: Develop flexible resources for diversion, prevention, and housing retention
  • Strategy 2.2: Provide low-barrier, housing-focused temporary housing
  • Strategy 2.3: Expand outreach and supportive services to unsheltered households

Goal 3: Mobilize the Citywide Response to Homelessness

  • Strategy 3.1: Educate and engage the community on the regional crisis of homelessness
  • Strategy 3.2: Strengthen the homeless response system infrastructure
  • Strategy 3.3: Ensure continued funding for supportive services

The City believes that its homelessness challenges are solvable with the right strategies. With fewer than 300 people experiencing homelessness on any given day and only half unsheltered, the City believes the scale of the problem makes the Strategic Plan’s goals realistic and achievable.

How You Can Help

For volunteer or donation opportunities to help Alameda's unhoused, please click here.

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Proud Alamedan writing about our arts, business, politics, and events. I also write about local Asian American history. On Instagram @karinkjensen.

Alameda, CA
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