Update on New Wellness, Medical Respite Center
Alameda stands out as a community that cares for its neighbors and for the most vulnerable among us. In April 2019, Alameda residents demonstrated their compassion by voting decisively to affirm the City Council’s zoning change and the development of the Alameda Wellness Center.
Thanks to Alameda voters, we are proceeding with our vision to permanently house homeless seniors and provide housing and service referrals for Alameda residents at risk of homelessness. We appreciate all the hard work, compassion and neighbor-to-neighbor discussions that went into this mandate to proceed. Unfortunately, opponents to housing the unhoused are back at it, trying to qualify two initiatives for the November election that would block the Alameda Wellness Center and criminalize our unhoused neighbors.
Let me be clear where we stand: five of our unhoused neighbors have died on the streets of Alameda since we started the development of the project. We have been driven daily by this tragedy to move forward as expeditiously as possible to complete the project. We have been busy.
I am most proud of Alameda Point Collaborative’s (APC) work with a group of neighbors, business representatives and other stakeholders over the last year to jointly develop a Good Neighbor Operating Plan. The plan identifies specific community oversight protocols to ensure high-quality operations and a safe, serene and secure environment. These Good Neighbor agreements, APC’s Safety Plan and other inputs provide for a well-managed project with beautiful architectural design, extensive safety provisions and community monitoring agreements.
Recently, APC submitted architectural design plans for the senior housing which is undergoing review by the city. Once approved, we will prepare construction documents, apply for construction permits and begin this phase of the project. The design for the medical respite component will be submitted to the city in April.
We are committed to a transparent process and want your continued involvement. To this end, APC has:
- Posted the Design Review Application the Good Neighbor Statement of Operations and other documents at the project website www.caringalameda.org.
- Held quarterly open houses. Our next open house will be in April and we will post notices on our website and through this newspaper and other media.
We cannot let a small number of people who are still trying to stop this project make us lose sight of our humanity. This group, acting primarily on behalf of an out-of-town commercial property developer, is preparing to return to our street to gather signatures on one petition that will attempt to halt work on the wellness center space and turn it into a parking lot, and another petition that will criminalize homelessness.
Alameda spoke loud and clear last year that we believe caring for one another is the hallmark of our community.
If you are approached by signature gatherers — who most likely don’t live here and are getting paid for every signature they can capture, politely decline. Let them know that Alameda has already made up its mind to be a compassionate community.
We are also looking for volunteers to help us respond to the criminalization campaign and spread the word about what’s at stake. Please reach out if you’re interested.
We are a community that is stronger together, and efforts to marginalize and divide our community cannot be allowed to stand. We’ve struck a good balance here in Alameda, emphasizing both compassion and a high quality of life, and we will do everything it takes to keep it.