Tag Archives: homeless

Oakland Church Program Providing Overnight Parking For Homeless Set To Launch

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Elected officials and religious leaders said Monday that they are launching a program in which homeless people who live in their cars in Oakland will now be able to park overnight in church parking lots without being harassed.

Speaking at a news conference at Williams Chapel Baptist Church near Lake Merritt, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan said beginning the program is “both a very sad day and a happy day.”

Chan said it’s a sad day because there are 2,700 homeless people in Oakland, including 1,900 who don’t have any shelter at all, but it’s a happy day because people who live in their cars will now have safe places to stay overnight.

She said she hopes the program is only temporary because the goal is to develop more permanent housing for low-income people.

The Rev. Jim Hopkins of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church echoed that sentiment, saying, “Admittedly these safe parking lots are band-aids and on one level that’s really not very desirable.”

Hopkins said he also hopes that the parking program is “a gateway to permanent housing” for homeless people and that more such housing will be built.

The Rev. Ken Chambers, the president of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County, which is operating the program with $50,000 in funding from Alameda County and $300,000 from the city of Oakland, said Williams Chapel Baptist Church will be the first site to open during its first phase.

Chambers said it will be followed in mid-April by West Side Missionary Baptist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church and Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Oakland City Councilwoman Nikki Fortunato Bas said the program will start with 10 families who live in their vehicles and eventually expand to 65 families.

Each site will feature an on-site security guard, portable toilets, hand-washing stations, drinking water, and security cameras, Chambers said.

He said the Interfaith Council also will provide homeless navigation wrap-around services during the day that will include case management, job development and employment training.

The program requires that participants must be employed or attend college and be the registered owners of their vehicles.
Chambers said participants must sign a code of conduct and must leave the parking lots by 8:30 a.m. each morning. He said they can bring their vehicles to the lots between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night.

Lawsuit: Chicago Homeless Shelters Lack Accessibility

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman is suing the city, claiming that its homeless shelters violate the rights of people with disabilities by failing to provide accommodations that are required by federal law.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Laura Martin on Monday. It alleges the city has violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

The lawsuit says Martin was turned away from multiple shelters in 2017 because she has difficulty walking due to rheumatoid arthritis. The suit says it took three nights for the shelter system to find Martin a place to stay.

The lawsuit is seeking to have the shelter program and its partner organizations improve accessibility for those with disabilities.

The city’s law department declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Chilliwack mayor accuses Fraser Health of sending discharged mental health patients to community

Ken Popove has written a letter to the health authority claiming a woman in her 70s was dropped off by taxi at the city’s Salvation Army shelter last month.

Homeless Advocates Protest Proposed Shut Down Of All-Night VTA Bus Line

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KPIX) — Some activists are planning a “rolling protest” on board a VTA bus Wednesday night as they rally to save the route that doubles as an overnight shelter for many homeless.

The VTA’s 22 bus route runs from Eastridge to Palo Alto in Santa Clara County. It is the system’s only route that runs 24 hours a day.

It’s known as “Hotel 22” because homeless people ride the bus from end to end overnight seeking only shelter. People just like Richard, who is homeless and frequently rides the 22 in the winter.

“Especially if the weather is like this. This is where it gets devastating. It’s cold,” he said.

Bus drivers tell KPIX 5 that Route 22 has been popular with the homeless for years. As the homeless crisis has worsened,
the buses are now practically full, sometimes with entire families.

But the VTA could put the brakes on the overnight portion of the route as part of a system-wide service overhaul and cost-cutting plan.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is facing a $50 million budget shortfall.

“Overall, our proposed changes — about 70 on the table — could save us $15 million annually. As we look at Route 22, discontinuing those overnight hours between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. could save us $500,000 per year,” said VTA spokesperson Holly Perez.

Homeless advocates argue the route should be saved.

“When you have 157 people last year dying on the streets, why take away another lifeline?” asked homeless advocate Shawnn Cartwright.

Homeless activists plan to join homeless people by riding the bus Wednesday night to protest the proposed change as well as giving out food and blankets to those in need.

“You have elderly people. You have parents, children. You have women who ride this bus to stay away from danger. And this is the best people can do, it saves people’s lives,” explained Cartwright.

The effort to save the overnight service for Route 22 is also supported by the bus driver’s Union Local 265.

A final decision on the route is expected in May.

Berkeley City Council To Consider RV Ban During Thursday Meeting

BERKELEY (CBS SF) — The Berkeley City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday evening to consider options for dealing with the increasing number of people who live in RVs, including prohibiting them from doing so for extended periods of time.

A group called Berkeley Friends on Wheels, which describes itself as a vehicular community of families, University of California at Berkeley students, gig economy workers, veterans, elderly and disabled people, says it will oppose the stricter options being considered.

The group alleges in a release that the stricter options “will vote poor people out of the city.”

One option the Council will consider would clarify an existing code that prohibits RVs and all vehicular residents to park for longer than 72 hours without an RV permit and create a permit program that would only allow vehicular residents to park on Berkeley streets for 14 days a year.

The option also calls for the enforcement of city ordinances that make it unlawful to live in “any house car or camper for human habitation.”

The second option calls for revising municipal codes that ban overnight parking between the hours of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and enforce the prohibition of sleeping in oversized vehicles.

In addition, it would call for the city to hire a staff member to do outreach for RVs and allocate $3,000 each for 100 vehicle dwellers for mechanical repairs and registration fees.

Berkeley Friends on Wheels says that would cover only about half of the city’s vehicular population.

“Neither option considers the needs and voices of our community,” the group said.

In its release, the group says, “Berkeley Friends on Wheels strongly believes that a safe haven should be allocated for our community on wheels in order for our neighbors to thrive and find stability.”

It says, “While order must be established on the streets, vehicular residents are asking that our opinion counts when city policy is being drafted. Solving the problem does not mean the city should ban our existence from Berkeley.”

City staff members said they are proposing the two options because the city “is experiencing an increasing number of RVs parking for long periods of time, impacting public safety, health and the parking needs for Berkeley residents and businesses.”

Last July, the city of Berkeley evicted about 35 homeless people who were living in RVs and vans in the parking lot of the recently closed HS Lordships restaurant in the Berkeley Marina.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said at the time that the city responded to the encampment at 199 Seawall Drive after families who use the nearby Adventure Playground and the management of the nearby Double Tree Hotel complained about assaults, drug needles and defecation in the area surrounding the encampment.

City staff said in their report for the meeting on Thursday that the city has received more than 1,500 complaints from businesses and residents about people who live in RVs, including the loss of parking and the illegal dumping of trash, debris and human waste onto city streets, sidewalks and waterways.

The council is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at the Berkeley Unified School District board room at 1231 Addison St.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.