On March 15, Doug Biggs, Executive Director of Alameda Point Collaborative, updated City Council on what's happening at the Alameda Wellness Campus ("Campus").
The Campus will provide:
- 100 permanent housing units for Alameda County residents ages 55+
- 50-bed recuperative care for unhoused Alameda County residents to resolve acute conditions, stabilize chronic conditions, and receive hospice care.
- A Primary Care Clinic for medical respite patients and senior housing residents
- Resource Center for homelessness prevention and placement for unhoused and at-risk City of Alameda individuals and families
The Campus will be across the street from the Crab Cove Visitor Center on McKay Avenue. Construction will begin on July 1, 2022, and is scheduled to finish on October 31, 2024.
Mr. Biggs discussed the pressing need for the Campus, noting that many older adults are one crisis away from homelessness, with many becoming homeless because of medical conditions or the loss of a job or spouse. Once homeless, medical conditions degrade rapidly. When unhoused people need medical services, they often don't get it and end up dying on the streets.
The "Everyone Home: Point in Time Count" reported 8,000 homeless in Alameda County in 2019. Of these, 32% were over 55 years old. Counts did not occur in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, and data is not yet available for 2022. However, Mr. Biggs believes the number of unhoused has increased significantly since 2019.
Ongoing Outreach and Oversight
The Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) is preparing to gather baseline air and sound quality data. It is developing an app to make it easy for the community to submit concerns and questions. Finally, it will coordinate with the East Bay Regional Parks District to ensure that construction doesn't impact their programming. Mr. Biggs also noted that a Community Oversight Committee continues to meet regularly.
The Campus will include interpretive signage. The architects are preparing a description of the interior and exterior features, site history, and the significance of each building.
APC is working with local artist Ryan Lalonde to create interpretive panels covering the following events and periods: Original land of Huichin – the Ohlone people's home, rancheros and trains at the start of Alameda, Neptune Beach, the U.S. Merchant Marines, the bombing of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1975, and the current opening of the Campus.
The Campus has received $15 million in one-time State funding for capital costs to build the medical respite building and recently won a $3 million award from the California Endowment.
They have also secured partnerships with Kaiser, Alameda County, the California Healthcare Foundation, Anthem Foundation, Sutter Health, and the California Wellness Foundation.
The Campus has completed design development and received initial planning approvals. Mr. Biggs said, "I had the pleasure of paying the City of Alameda $400,000 recently for building permits and the associated taxes and fees for the Wellness Center. Those building permit applications are being reviewed now."
Mayor Ezzy Ashcraft and Council Member John Knox-White noted the Council's support for the project and offered to extend the City's help should impediments arise. Mayor Ashcraft concluded, "Our entire staff understands the gravity and need for this project."