Council Directs Staff for City’s Homeless Shelter Project

Council Directs Staff for City’s Homeless Shelter Project

The City Council directed Alameda city staff to do further analysis on two housing types for the city’s proposed Homeless Housing Project at its July 20 meeting.

Council instructed city staff to better assess the prefabricated Group Delphi temporary shelter units for transitional housing in the shorter term, but also do further financial analysis on the proposed Marina Village Inn option for permanent housing for the city’s unhoused population.

The Group Delphi temporary shelters consists of 80-square foot prefab transitional housing units constructed in the Group Delphi manufacturing plant at Alameda Point. Two units would be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible. The fully constructed units would be delivered to the site. Each unit could be wired for electrical or connected to an USB and a LED fixture powered by a solar panel. Estimates for this 20-unit project range from $1,411,000 to $2,161,000 (approximately $70,544 to $108,032 per unit). Annual operating costs are estimated at $600,000, according to a city staff report.

The Marina Village Inn option would convert the 51-room, three-building motel at 1151 Pacific Marina, into permanent supportive housing studios. Some of the rooms would be combined to house families. This project would require extensive renovations to the motel. The project is estimated to cost up to $12,000,000 and $20,000,000 including both acquisition and renovation costs.

Councilmember Tony Daysog favored the Marina Village Inn option because “the wealth of natural and social amenities makes the Marina Village Inn the ideal place to have this facility.”

Councilmember Trish Spencer was concerned about the renovation and acquisition costs of the Marina Village Inn option. Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft supported the temporary Group Delphi option.

Public speakers also favored either the Marina Village Inn or the temporary shelter options. Alameda resident Cheri Johansen said the Marina Village Inn is the best option because it is a logical extension of its use during the¬COVID-19 pandemic. The inn was used as part of Project Roomkey, a statewide program that housed homeless women and children in motels during the pandemic.

However, resident Rosalinda Fortuna said the cost of retrofitting the inn would not make sense for this project. “You can use solar technology for each modular house or cabin and have no gas, no grid, and be a more efficient way of housing these homeless individuals,” said Fortuna.

City staff recommended the council approve the temporary housing unit option.

City staff provided council with five housing types for the project. Along with the Group Delphi temporary shelter and the Marina Village Inn options, staff proposed prefabricated Pallet temporary shelter units, ground-up new construction of 40 permanent units and acquiring existing housing and transforming them to housing for the homeless.

The council rejected the Pallet temporary housing unit plan because it called for communal bathrooms, which they strongly opposed. Council did not discuss the ground-up new construction plan at the meeting, but this plan is the costliest with estimates around $25.4 million. Councilmember John Knox White supported the idea of acquiring and renovating existing housing units as a compliment to the Marina Village Inn and the Group Delphi temporary unit options. He even discussed the possibility of using the Carnegie Building across the street from City Hall as a site that can be converted into housing units for the homeless.

City staff will now study the two options promoted by the council. According to city staff member Lisa Maxwell, staff will examine the cost to construct or remodel each project, the operating budget, funding and finance opportunities (such as grants, loans, vouchers.), project schedule, potential development partners, the best site and other factors.

Council said a report by city staff should be done soon. Staff also told council should decide which option to choose by the fall to receive potential funds from the county for the next round of Project Homekey in September. Project Homekey lets counties and cities buy hotels, motels, apartments and other buildings to house those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.