Oakland’s Vice-Mayor Kaplan Request for City Auditor’s Report Spotlights Failure of City Administration to Use $2 Million of Federal Funding to House Unsheltered People
Oakland – Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan is calling on the Oakland Administration to implement City Council’s adopted budget amendment and immediately release funds to the Homeless Administrator meant to provide immediate shelter for the unhoused. Vice-Mayor Kaplan has continuously introduced, and with support of her colleagues on the City Council, passed legislation and budget actions to allocate funding to respond to the growing unsheltered population. In the summer of 2020, the City Council unanimously passed budget amendments from Kaplan, which included $2 million to be under the Homeless Administrator to be able to put people up in available hotel rooms and other strategies to help people get off the streets. Many months later, those funds have not been provided for that use, as the unsheltered population continues to rise.
At the request of the Vice-Mayor, the Life Enrichment Committee asked City Auditor Courtney Ruby to report on the status of the $2 million of CARES Act funding that the Oakland City Council allocated in FY 2020-21 to immediately provide hotels for the unsheltered. Yesterday, the Oakland City Auditor released her findings, the auditor’s memo states:
After reviewing video tapes of City Council meetings and associated records, interviewing Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) staff, and consulting with the City Attorney’s Office, we confirmed the $2 million in supplemental funding the City Council requested to be used “to be able to put people up in hotel rooms and related tasks” was assigned from the CDBG-COVID funding. Specifically, the funds originated from $4,532,841 in CDBG-COVID funding the City Council accepted and appropriated to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus pandemic (Resolution 88135 adopted in May 2020). This money is available for urgent assistance for those experiencing or at imminent risk of homelessness.
HCD reported that in July 2020, the $2 million had been identified for immediate housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness. However, my Office determined these funds have not been used as of June 16, 2021.
Link to the Auditor’s Memo on CARES Act funds for homelessness:
In response to this Audit Report, Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan stated:
“I call on the Administration to immediately release the previously approved $2 million to the Homelessness Administrator, to help unsheltered people with the use of available hotel rooms and more. As the City Auditor confirmed yesterday, these are funds which I proposed, and the Council approved, over a year ago, to be used to help resolve the growing homelessness crisis. We and the public recognize that resolving this crisis must be treated as a top priority, and the failure to use funds that the Council approved for these purposes is worsening human suffering and undermining solutions.”
At the April 26, 2021, Life Enrichment Committee, Vice-Mayor Kaplan submitted a memo to discuss during the City Auditor’s Presentation Of Homeless Services Performance Audit, which found the City to be failing our most vulnerable population. Kaplan’s memo lists previous Council actions on housing and homelessness that have yet to be implemented by the City Administration.
Link to Kaplan Memo of Council Actions on Housing and Homelessness: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9335402&GUID=2145E85D-EA10-47ED-BA8C-32A04677CC7C
Rebecca Kaplan is an honors graduate from MIT and was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember, she was re-elected in 2020. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) and the Oakland- Alameda County Coliseum Authority Board (OACCA) .
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