Regional homeless facility mischaracterized 

 

Editor:
It is a gross misrepresentation that the McKay Avenue homeless facility will principally serve Alameda’s senior homeless population. Both the senior housing and the medical respite components will serve homeless people from all over the Bay Area and hospitals without any preference for Alameda residents. 

The medical respite component will accept all regional homeless 18 and older, many with mental illnesses and alcohol or drug dependence. Even the drop-in resource center, which will distribute food, water and blankets, has no special focus whatsoever on seniors. 

Additionally, there are strings attached to the “generous“ financing of the facility by hospital groups. 
The hospitals have major financial incentives to discharge their homeless, indigent patients to the proposed regional homeless medical respite unit at a fraction of the cost. They can only maximize these financial advantages if there are available beds in the medical respite facility. 

There will be continuous, insistent pressure from these hospitals to discharge patients from the medical respite unit ASAP to make room for more homeless hospital patients to be transferred to the cheaper respite beds. Unfortunately, there are extremely few viable permanent housing options available for these discharged medical respite patients. 

Most of these regional homeless will remain just as homeless as they were before they were hospitalized. Given the high number of anticipated discharges from the proposed medical respite facility and the extreme lack of housing options currently available for them, Alameda should prepare for many more regional homeless individuals sleeping on its streets and in its parks should the proposed homeless facility become operational.

 

Angela Fawcett

Editor’s note: Angela Fawcett sits as the homeowner’s association president of the Park Webster, a gated community one block away from McKay Avenue, the proposed site of the wellness center. She also sits as a board member of the Friends of Crab Cove that introduced Measure B on the April 9 ballot. Measure B opposes the planned wellness center on McKay