Guess the yearly price tag to reduce homeless in Alameda County, California

by DCG

Homeless encampment in Berkeley, Alameda County

There are over 1.5 million people in Alameda County. According to the study cited in this story, “…5,600 people experience homelessness on any given night. Over the next five years we aim to reduce that number to less than 2,200 people. If we achieve this goal no one will have to sleep outside.”

Take a wild guess as to how much money is required to achieve their goal. Then double or triple your number.

From SF ChronicleEvery person sleeping on the streets of Alameda County could be placed into housing or shelters if the county more than triples its spending on key programs, a new report says.

There is no obvious source for the more than $200 million a year needed — on top of more than $100 million already being spent annually — to achieve that goal, officials say. That has prompted talk of a potential tax proposal on the 2020 ballot.

The report is an update to a plan crafted more than a decade ago and adopted by Alameda County and its 14 cities seeking to end homelessness by 2020. The problem has grown since then, and the new report says it can be fixed by 2023 — with additional funding.

“When we wrote the 2007 plan, we said homelessness is a solvable issue. We wanted it to be true, but we weren’t sure. We were just building databases,” said Elaine de Coligny, executive director of Everyone Home, the effort to address homelessness in Alameda County.

“We have a lot more information now than we did a decade ago. We are confident in the solutions and strategies. We just haven’t been doing them at the pace and scale required,” she said.

The county spends about $106 million a year on homeless-related programs and subsidizes 3,000 permanent housing units. The report from Everyone Home, which was started by Oakland, Berkeley and county agencies, says those numbers should be $334 million and 9,000.

Sara Bedford, who is on the leadership board of Everyone Home, said reaching the goal is feasible. “I think we do a disservice if we’re not ambitious and realistic at the same time, and I think the plan does both of those things,” said Bedford, director of the Human Services Department of Oakland. “It’s very doable to achieve a functional zero — that you are housing people almost as quickly as they come into homelessness.”

Short of a San Francisco Proposition C-style tax increase or bond measure, that level of funding isn’t expected anytime soon. East Bay officials are beginning to contemplate putting such an initiative on the 2020 ballot.
Meanwhile, the report says, for every homeless person who found housing in 2017, two more became homeless. More than 12,000 people are homeless at some point each year in Alameda County. On any given night, the figure is 5,600.

The report says that if that number can be cut down to 2,200 people, with the additional funding, then no one would have to sleep outside, because there would be enough shelter and housing to go around.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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