Alameda County plans to spend $2.5B to address homelessness

Aims to house 8K homeless residents by 2026, boost affordable units; says population could hit 18K if nothing is done

Alameda County (iStock) Billions, Homeless
Alameda County (iStock)

It’s going to cost $2.5 billion to house the 8,000 homeless residents of Alameda County, according to a newly approved plan.

The county Board of Supervisors has approved a plan that outlines the cost of finding 24,000 more units of housing for every person living on the streets of their jurisdiction by 2026, the East Bay Times reported. The plan also includes finding homes within 90 days for any newly unhoused resident.

The “Home Together 2026 Community Plan” would more than double the amount of money the county spends each year on homelessness. The supervisors did not commit to new funding.

“Approving the plan is easy,” Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, said after a unanimous vote. “The implementation of the plan is the challenge.”

The county’s homeless strategy, developed over two years by staff with input from community groups, follows others to address homelessness across the Bay Area. San Mateo County pledged to end homelessness this year, while Santa Clara County plans to house all homeless families with kids by 2025.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration requires counties seeking state funds to submit detailed plans on how they would reduce the number of residents on the streets.

Last year, the East Bay county didn’t have enough resources to house 64 percent of its homeless households. The county stretches from Albany to Fremont, including Oakland, and inland through the Tri-Valley into Altamont Pass.

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To fill that gap, its latest plan calls for $340 million for new shelter beds, $1.68 billion for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing, and $388 million to prevent homelessness by helping struggling households cover expenses.

And that’s the money needed to operate those programs and pay for participants’ rent. It would cost more money for the one-time development costs for acquiring or constructing new buildings, which could be funded through bond measures and other means, according to the report.

The Home Together plan also aims to reduce racial disparities in the county’s homeless population, where two in three homeless residents are people of color.

If nothing is done to increase resources, county staff estimate the homeless population will more than double – reaching 18,000 people by 2026.

City, county, state and federal funding for homelessness in Alameda County adds up to about $183 million per year — less than half of what would be needed annually to meet the $2.5 billion Home Together goal

Advocates who helped write the Home Together plan were optimistic the county would fill the funding gap. Newsom has committed $12 billion to a one-time investment to battle homelessness, plus $10 billion more for affordable housing.

[East Bay Times] – Dana Bartholomew

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