Councilmember Guillén Delivers for Constituents
Councilmember Guillén's leadership brought $8.6 million for homeless services, new resources to combat illegal dumping, and litter enforcement to make District 2 and our City a better place to live.
Oakland to spend millions to curb homelessness, illegal dumping
By ALI TADAYON | email@example.com | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: June 22, 2018 at 4:32 pm | UPDATED: June 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm
OAKLAND — Oakland will spend millions more dollars to fight homelessness and illegal dumping, along with providing money to renovate playgrounds, pools and sports facilities.
The City Council unanimously allocated the funds this week as part of Oakland’s midcycle budget adjustments.
The money is in addition to proposals by the city administration, which directed millions toward affordable housing and homeless service programs, additional illegal dumping pickup crews, two Animal Services workers, six Planning and Building Department employees, the fire department’s academy and other programs.
“I applaud the City Council’s mid-cycle budget adjustment to address two of Oakland’s most urgent priorities – homelessness and dumping,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in an email Thursday. “The consensus from the six council members who voted showed a shared commitment to make Oakland more equitable for all residents. The budget adjustments responded to the voice of our community. I also want to thank the chair of the finance committee, Councilmember Abel Guillen, for his leadership.”
Council members Larry Reid and Desley Brooks did not vote on the budget amendments. Reid was not at the meeting, and Brooks had left by the time the item was discussed after midnight.
In addition to what the city was already spending on services for homeless people, the City Council also allocated $8.6 million in state grants to address the city’s homelessness crisis, according to a news release issued by Guillen. About $1 million of that will go toward sanitation, health and hygiene services, and the rest for a homelessness response strategy in coordination with Alameda County. The city is also using $85,000 for a pilot program in which homeless people are paid to pick up trash and clean up parts of the city.
The state grant funds will be available as soon as the city and county develop their strategy for the program, which is in the works, said Sarah Ting, Guillen’s chief of staff.
The administration’s budget includes $60,000 for a biennial homeless count and $500,000 to add a new transitional housing center and expand winter shelters. It allocates $10.8 million for affordable housing and a first-time home buyer program, and $16.7 million for housing at the Brooklyn Basin development.
More than $1.4 million will be spent on efforts to combat illegal dumping. Those include expanding a zone-based illegal dumping pickup pilot program. The current program is based on complaints and has been criticized by both community groups and city officials for disproportionately servicing wealthier neighborhoods, where more complaints are lodged but the issue is less widespread. Under the zone-based program, pick-up crews would patrol their assigned zones and pick up dumped items where they see them.
The city also will add an additional four-person illegal dumping pickup crew and two litter-enforcement officers to go through dumped trash piles to find and fine the culprits. Those will be in addition to the three-person illegal dumping pickup crew and three litter-enforcement officers funded through the administration’s budget.
The city also will spend $4.4 million to improve some playgrounds, pools and sports facilities, the news release said. That money is coming from the city’s tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages voters approved in 2016, and matches funds provided to the city from the state Proposition 68 parks and conservation bond.
The city is spending $725,000 for job training and placement programs.
The budget was also adjusted to provide $75,000 from Measure Z funds to pay for programs to assist sex-trafficking victims and prevent sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Measure Z, passed in 2014, placed a $99.77 parcel tax on parcels with houses and a $68.15-per-unit parcel tax on multi-residential parcels.
About $150,000 was allocated to fund a gun crime analyst for the police department who will help in the crackdown of illegal guns in Oakland.