UPDATE: The City is planning to evict campers on Albany Bulb by the end of October (2013) so that the land can be included in the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. (Of the 60 or so campers, some have called the Bulb home for more than five years and some having been encouraged to live there by local police.) The City’s latest proposal is a three-prong response (“ACT”)
Assisting those at the Bulb by establishing two temporary trailers at the parking lot for those who need them once they are evicted. They would be made available for six months, and there would be separate provision for pet animals. People’s belongings would be stored off site (at the City maintenance yard?) for up to six months, with access.
Cleaning up the camping sites
Transitioning it to the Parks district.
For this they have found $500,000, of which about half would go to the temporary housing plan. Bear in mind that this same strategy – of FEMA-type trailers – was employed after the last sweep in the 1990s and was a stunning failure when almost no-one used them.
Housing First is a humane policy based on the observation that people with mental health issues or problems with addiction do better if they are in permanent housing before being offered treatment.
Homelessness expert Boona Cheema argues that this money could be much more useful in transitioning Bulb residents out of homelessness if it were allocated to housing instead of temporary trailers (see her article here
). In addition, environmental group Phat Beets has wrote an illuminating statement about their position on the eviction here
If you agree that this money might be better spent providing permanent housing for Bulb residents, please e-mail the Albany City Council (email@example.com) ideally before the next council meeting on October 21, and ask them to vote to allocate the Assistance funds in the ACT plan to housing subsidies and allow Bulb residents to remain where they are while they search for permanent housing options.
Here http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?recordid=7378&page=640 is the agenda (and associated documents) for that meeting, which starts at the earlier time of 5:30 pm, with an opportunity for public comment before the council goes into closed session regarding an impending lawsuit about the issue, and at 6:00 pm discusses (in public) an update of the housing element of the 2007-2014 General Plan (see below).