Homeless Action Plan Taking Shape for City

 

The City of Alameda has unveiled its Homeless Action Plan to help accommodate the homeless encampment population at Jean Sweeney Open Space Park during its planned construction.

The particulars of the plan were mapped out in the city’s Addressing Homelessness in Alameda report. The plan, which is already underway, includes an initial survey assessment and posting of park timeline notices, both of which has already been completed. 

Details that have not been implemented as of yet include: one year of case-management services; evictions in park construction zones; clearing of brush in phases from non-construction zones and undeveloped areas; maintaining cleared areas; installing solar lighting in undeveloped areas and maintaining and opening undeveloped areas to the public once construction is complete. 

The one year of case management services will be conducted by Operation Dignity, a local nonprofit that provides case-management support and essential survival items to homeless individuals. The city will hire two Operation Dignity outreach workers and one case manager who will work a combined 20 hours a week. 

The staff from the nonprofit will be tasked with developing rapport, trust and building relationships with the encampment population; offering support and guidance at scheduled visits; dispensing basic supplies; linking clients with housing resources, public benefits, health care services, legal resources, clinical care management and other service resources; and providing transportation assistance and accompanying clients as needed.

The city formalized its plan after collaborating with city departments and outside sources (“City Working on Plan for Homeless Camps” Sept. 15). The city created a Homeless Action Plan Committee. The committee comprised of representatives from Alameda Point Collaborative, Alameda Police Department (APD), the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department, the Alameda Community Development Department, Operation Dignity and the Social Services Human Resources Board (SSHRB). 

SSHRB reviewed and made recommendations to the plan. APD assisted with posting notices around the park to inform the encampment population of the construction timeline. The community development department held a meeting attended by neighbors and homeless people that allowed them to offer ideas. Finally, Operation Dignity conducted the survey assessment to understand the encampment population better. 

The nonprofit surveyed 33 people, all homeless, living in Sweeney Park, from late September to early November. Of the 33 people surveyed, 22 were men, 29 reported a mental or physical disability, 21 had substance abuse issues and five were veterans. All but three expressed interest in case management services and all reported being interested in housing.

The city estimated it would cost $242,242 to execute the plan. More than half, $122,242, will be allocated to Operation Dignity for its assessment survey and three employees for case management services. The other $120,000 will go toward the installation of solar lighting, brush clearing and ongoing maintenance. The plan will be paid for through the city’s General Fund.