McKay Avenue Project Helps At-Risk Senior Community

Part 2 of 2

Click here to read part 1 https://alamedasun.com/news/mckay-property%E2%80%99s-aim-benefit-homeless

Last week’s article (“McKay Property to Benefit Homeless, Part One,” June 14) offered readers information on how Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) obtained the northern section of federal government property on McKay Avenue. In particular the article attempted to dispel the notion that the federal government sold the property to antagonize Alameda residents and the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). 

Neither the city government nor the park district had a hand in disposing the property. Instead, the federal government was following the tenets of its Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. This act allows public bodies and eligible nonprofits and institutions concerned with providing assistance to the homeless — like APC — to acquire government property.

APC obtained the property to offer vulnerable, medically fragile homeless seniors with a safe place to live out their lives and get much-needed medical care. The 3.65-acre site first housed a maritime officer training facility; more recently inspection facilities for the United States Department of Agriculture had their offices there. 

According to APC’s executive director Doug Biggs, his organization plans to use the 72,049 square feet in the site’s five buildings to create a center to care for homeless seniors and individuals with acute medical needs. In addition the center will offer a neighborhood resource center to provide Alamedans experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis with outreach and support services. 

“The Alameda Medical Respite and Wellness Center” will take patients from Alameda County hospitals and medical providers, there will be no drop-in overnight stays. If all unfolds as planned, the center will have between 80 and 90 units of senior housing and care for homeless and medically vulnerable elders. Services would include case management, primary medical care, mental health services, assistance with daily living, peer support, social and wellness programs and palliative care.

The facility would also house a 50-bed recuperative care program to provide compassionate and cost-effective care for homeless adults just out of hospitals or undergoing intensive medical treatment. This would include 24/7 medical care, mental-health services, case management to link patients with housing, health and community resources.

The resource center would assist seven to 10 clients a day on a drop-in basis. The center would offer outreach, support and emergency supplies for Alameda residents experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis, as well as housing-placement services to connect clients to safe and suitable housing. Clients would sign up to use the facility’s resources. There will be no overnight shelter or warming center there. The facility would also have an on-site medical and mental health clinic.

APC began meeting with EBRPD in April. At one of the meetings the park district discussed the idea of its naturalists stepping up and offering programs for the seniors at APC’s facility. In return, APC offered to make staff members trained in trauma recovery services available to homeless persons using Crown Memorial State Beach inappropriately and connecting them with services elsewhere. 

In a recent letter (“The real McKay story,” April 26) Biggs cited a statement he discovered in an online blog. “Just imagine, if the community came together around a plan to help the sick and dying homeless seniors?”  The park district has taken a step in that direction by offering its naturalists to help the homeless seniors. “I hope others can also allow some similar compassion into their hearts,” Biggs stated in his letter. 

An advisory group comprised of community, health-care, public-agency and nonprofit representatives is guiding the project. The facility is slated to open in the fall of 2020. Its neighbor to the west, the Crown Harbor Homeowners Association, has provided a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to know more about the Alameda Medical Respite and Wellness Center at www.crownharbor.org/center.html. The association decided not to take a stand on the presence of the facility next door, rather invites its members to decide for themselves.