In the immediate short term:
If you see anyone in distress, I encourage contacting the city’s Housing Outreach and Treatment Team (HOTT) at 510-981-5273. For non-emergency service needs, please call the city’s customer service line at 311 or request service online here. If you do not receive a response within one week, please provide my office with your ticket number and I will be happy to follow up.
In the long term:
My office hosted a community meeting about the Horizon Transitional Village opening on July 1. You can watch the video of the event on my Facebook page. The facility will be operated in partnership with the local nonprofit Dorothy Day House, with 24/7 operations including vaccinations and case management, and on-site security. Shelter and storage space will initially be offered to residents at the encampments by I-80 overpasses, with other unhoused communities to follow. If you’d like to learn more, you can contact Dorothy Day House and Rebuilding Together.
Please keep in mind that there is judicial precedent under the Martin v. Boise decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which the US Supreme Court declined to review, that effectively prohibits the western states under the court’s jurisdiction from removing homeless individuals who are sleeping on public property if no alternative shelter can be provided. Unfortunately, that does describe Berkeley’s insufficient shelter capacity without the Horizon Transitional Village and its secure RV parking. City ordinances regulating encampments and RVs cannot be enforced until the facility is fully operational, and continued enforcement will be contingent on further expanding our shelter capacity.
This issue requires state and regional collaboration, as the needs of the population outpace our capacity as a city to act on it alone. Because we rely on county resources, we are in regular contact with Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s office. Alameda County is also stepping up to provide 40 rooms at the Rodeway Inn on University Avenue, using the Project Roomkey model providing emergency shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. The County plans to maintain emergency shelter at the hotel for aboutsix months and then work to permanently house individuals through Project Homekey.
The city council has budgeted for more permanent supportive housing which will need to be built. You can read more about new permanent supportive opening at Step Up Housing opening soon here. You can find more information about allocations for homeless services funded by the Measure P transfer tax here, and all expenditures on homeless services in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Book. As far as long-term solutions, you may find more detailed information in this City Manager memo on Berkeley’s 1000 Person Plan. The recommendations in this plan are central to our work in addressing the root causes of homelessness.
- Councilmember Taplin Statement on Horizon Temporary Village OpeningFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 1, 2021 The opening of this temporary shelter presents a huge opportunity for Berkeley to make lasting progress in housing its unhoused community. We must not squander it. With the 18-month contract for this site and 24-hour security, I’m looking forward to partnering with the county, state agencies, and community leaders to ensure this provides […]