Oakland (press release). “Keep Oakland Housed”, a program that will help prevent Oakland residents from losing their housing and help support those living in temporary housing, was launched October 15, 2018 with support from a group of funders and nonprofits in partnership with the City of Oakland.
The San Francisco Foundation, with a major contribution from Kaiser Permanente, provided a total of $9 million in funding to sustain “Keep Oakland Housed” through the year 2022. “Keep Oakland Housed” works in partnership with Mayor Libby Schaaf and the City of Oakland and will be implemented by three nonprofit agencies—Bay Area Community Services, Catholic Charities of the East Bay and East Bay Community Law Center. Services will include emergency financial assistance, legal representation and housing supportive services.
“Not one resident in Oakland should live with the fear that they’ll become homeless if they miss a rent check,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “The fight against homelessness starts with preventing homelessness, and our community partners at Kaiser Permanente and the San Francisco Foundation have stepped up with open hearts. Keep Oakland Housed is a new collaboration among local government, philanthropic partners, and our social service providers to keep Oakland’s residents right where they belong—at home, and in Oakland.”
To inform Oakland residents about these critical emergency services, “Keep Oakland Housed” information will be available on 211, on KeepOaklandHoused.org, and on multilingual materials that will be distributed by each agency. KOH services are available to all Oakland residents who are experiencing a housing crisis who have a household income at or below 50 percent of the area median income with priority given to extremely low-income households. Legal representation will be provided to tenants with an active eviction lawsuit.
“We cannot make meaningful progress toward equity and inclusive prosperity in Oakland without addressing the housing crises and championing equitable approaches to protection, preservation and production focused on low-income and people-of-color communities in Oakland. Together with our donors, we are proud to be part of Keep Oakland Housed,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation.
Kaiser Permanente is a longstanding supporter and partner of community-based agencies in Oakland.
“Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to improving the health of our communities,” said Janet Liang, president, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “As an organization that has been part of Oakland for nearly 75 years, we recognize that housing plays a critical role in the health of this community. Homelessness is a complex public health issue and through this partnership we are pleased to support and influence sustainable change.”
Bay Area Community Services will provide emergency financial assistance and case management services. BACS will also play the very important role of coordinating with the city and county to ensure that clients are tracked effectively and services are not duplicated through the use of the Homeless Management Information System.
Jamie Almanza, executive director of Bay Area Community Services, said her organization receives one thousand calls each month from people who are on the brink of losing their housing.
“Homeless prevention is a critical piece of ending homelessness—for as many people who are living on the streets that BACS already helps,” Almanza said. “Keep Oakland Housed means that we can say yes immediately to help people on the same day they need help.”
Catholic Charities of the East Bay will focus on keeping clients housed by providing emergency financial assistance and case management services so that their housing is stabilized for the long-term.
“In working to prevent eviction and keep people safely housed, we daily witness the challenges that can push people out of their homes as well as the struggle to find an affordable place to call home. So many individuals, families and seniors are one crisis away from homelessness. The situation is both complex and traumatic, which is why Keep Oakland Housed is a much needed and innovative approach to bringing partners together for the benefit of Oakland and the people who proudly call Oakland home,” said Christopher Martinez, chief program officer at Catholic Charities of the East Bay.
East Bay Community Law Center will focus on preventing the loss of affordable rentals in Oakland by negotiating with landlords to stop evictions and representing tenants in eviction lawsuits to help people maintain their current housing.
“We must prioritize—and adequately resource—preserving housing while producing more. Social scientists across the country have shown that one of the most effective interventions to preserve existing tenancies is legal representation in eviction proceedings. East Bay Community Law Center has been a strong force against eviction, displacement, and homelessness for 30 years. With Keep Oakland Housed, we’re ready to greatly expand our legal services to stem displacement and prevent homelessness,” said Tirien Steinbach, executive director of East Bay Community Law Center.
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