Rebecca Kaplan Oakland City Council At-Large

Oakland Councilmember Kaplan Wants City Council To Adopt Effective Homelessness Solutions May 4th

Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland At-Large Councilmember, is asking for the Oakland City Council to adopt new, effective homeless solutions

We recently received the report from the City Auditor detailing the failures of the Oakland Administration’s current primary strategies around homelessness. We recognize that we must implement real improvements, including rapidly expanding deeply affordable housing, providing permitted spaces for RVs, with sanitation and other services, and protecting public health.

Pushing people from one underpass to the next, with no plan of where they should go, has been expensive and has not succeeded. At the Tuesday, May 4, 2021, City Council meeting, we will have a report on identifying sites in each Council District for homeless interventions. Join us in urging the rapid deployment of public lands and other resources (including those from County and State), to provide tangible and immediate improvements. This includes the requirement that homeless services be provided in every Council District using strategies, including modular housing, co-governed encampments, managed RV sites, and use of vacant hotel rooms.

It is essential that we implement significant solutions that provide real housing alternatives and health and sanitation. Our plan will do just that and also reduce human suffering and wasteful costs. Let us meaningfully address the housing and homelessness crises in our City and get people into affordable, safe, and clean housing. Our item will be at the Tuesday, May 4th, meeting at 1:30pm.

Oakland City Auditor’s Homeless Services Performance Audit & Previous Council Directives

At the April 26, 2021, Oakland Life Enrichment Committee (“LEC”), our City Auditor Ruby presented her Homeless Services Performance Audit. The Oakland City Auditor found that in Fiscal Years 2018-19 and 2019-20, Oakland incurred roughly $12.6 million in costs associated with encampment activities. Most of these costs were unbudgeted and resulted in the redirecting of staff and resources to the encampment activities from other city services, and did not involve solving the homelessness of the people impacted.

Over the last few years, the Oakland City Council has passed actions to address many of the challenges we face in providing deeply affordable housing, providing temporary housing, and providing clean and sanitary spaces on private and public lands. Many of these Council directives have not been implemented, or only partially implemented by the City Administration. As we work now to strengthen the efforts to remedy homelessness and respond to the issues raised in the Homeless Audit, it is important to identify examples where policy direction has been given and to help ensure it is fully implemented.

Audit Report: https://www.oaklandauditor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/20210414_Performance-Audit_City-of-Oaklands-Homeless-Encampment-Management-Interventions-and-Activities.pdf

Memo Highlighting Past Council Actions to Address Homelessness: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9335402&GUID=2145E85D-EA10-47ED-BA8C-32A04677CC7C

Identifying Sites for Homeless Interventions

On May 4, 2021, the full City Council will receive an informational report on the Progress Identifying Sites for Homeless Interventions. As part of the numerous homeless policies set forth by Council, we have stated that no one council district should bear the responsibility for the placement of homeless interventions. Effective strategies should be located in all parts of our City to help equitably provide for community needs.

These interventions and services may include Rapid Build Modular Housing as an option for fast deeply affordable housing, use of existing hotels, dormitories, and similar existing buildings as an immediate intervention to provide shelter and get people off of the streets (there is expected availability of State and Federal funds to support these efforts.). And, importantly, with numerous people living in RVs, vans, vehicles and more, one important way to improve community health and safety is by setting up managed RV/parking locations that would have safety, sanitation, trash removal and water and sewage systems. These could be managed ultimately on a sliding scale basis depending on income level and include having staffing and support to help ensure they are effective.

I have submitted a memo with a spreadsheet (Attachment A) that contains a list of City Owned Properties, Coliseum City Owned Properties, and Non-City Owned Properties. I am calling on my colleagues to review these lists of Available Properties for Homeless Interventions and identify what type of intervention we would like to see go on specific parcels in our districts.

Memo with Sites for Homeless Interventions: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashxM=F&ID=9334519&GUID=E6154B12-4C36-4DB8-9A3E-7992DC010670

Link to the Meeting Agenda: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=858250&GUID=6B3327F3-1270-4AC9-9BF6-26CD23C49BBE

May 4, 2021, Council Meeting Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81137523734

Join us in urging the implementation of effective homelessness solutions by contacting the Mayor and Councilmembers!

Link to find your Councilmember’s contact information:

https://www.oaklandca.gov/services/look-up-your-city-council-district-and-representative

Mayor’s email: OfficeoftheMayor@Oaklandca.gov

In solidarity,

Rebecca Kaplan

Oakland Vice Mayor

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