City Working on Plan for Homeless Camps

 

The City of Alameda is working collaboratively with Alameda Point Collaborative, Operation Dignity and the Social Services Human Resources Board (SSHRB) to develop and implement a plan to prevent increased homeless encampments in the city.

Homeless encampments in Alameda and across the entire Bay Area region have grown in recent months. With the construction of Jean Sweeney Open Space Park anticipated to begin the city is trying to create a compassionate plan of action to help those displaced by the construction. 

“This is a well-thought-out plan that serves the needs of the homeless and the interests of the community,” said Doug Biggs, executive director of Alameda Point Collaborative. “It is exciting to see the plans for the park moving forward and that we are using this opportunity to work to end homelessness in Alameda.”  

The city’s plan includes an agreement with Operation Dignity, a nonprofit based in Oakland and Alameda, to provide an initial assessment of homeless people living in Alameda; bringing to Council for approval in October a one-year agreement with Operation Dignity to provide on-site case management services to homeless individuals in an effort to get people housed and accessing available services when possible; and notices were posted Aug. 19 throughout the park to inform people that construction is coming and the general timeframe. 

Other details of the plan include the Alameda Police Department (APD) posting the legally required 30-day eviction notices once the exact timeframe for the first construction phase of Sweeney Park is confirmed, anticipated to be in November/December. When construction begins, a temporary fence will be erected around the construction zone. The city will also apply for a StopWaste state grant on Nov. 1, for funding to clean up hazardous materials from abandoned encampments. 

The city is also discussing mid- to long-term options for the remaining undeveloped areas of the park. They include installing temporary solar lighting throughout undeveloped areas, using a goat abatement service to clear brush and ensure better visibility into the area and making a determination on whether to keep the undeveloped areas open to the public or remain fenced.

This plan includes input from all departments involved with this continued effort to address issues of neighborhood safety, provide resources in a humane way, and create a long-term strategy and solution for developing park spaces.

The city is convening a neighborhood meeting to allow for feedback and discussion on these initial plans and provide general information about homeless referrals. The meeting is set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave. 

A collection bin for socks and toiletries will be available at the meeting and anyone attending is encouraged to bring donations.