After about a year and a month later the North Village Housing has entered into its public meeting phase after five organizations submitted either (1) public benefit coveyance requests or (2) homeless accomodation requests as required by law for this land that the Navy declared as surplus. On Monday there will be a public meeting (the second of two, I missed talking about and attending the first one because of the election) to discuss and give input about the plan.
In the graphic above I have labelled in maroon what is around the site to better orient folks to what is currently already there or also proposed to be there. The North Housing parcel is basically everything around that wonky sort of loop and spreads out over 42 acres.
So, as I mentioned above five requests were put in, three for homeless accomodations (see link to Navy Surplus in Store postfor background) and two for public benefit conveyances (PBC). Here is a memo to the ARRAabout what the conclusion of Evaluation Committee was. I’ll talk about the PBC ones first because they are less complicated.
The first is a PBC requested by the City of Alameda for eight acres to use as park space. The Evaluation Committee recommended submitting this proposal to the Department of Interior (remember that PBCs need sponsoring Federal agencies). In looking at the map, the land that the City probably wants is that big swath of open space at the northern part, I believe this is called Estuary Park and has been the subject of discussion by the Council previously. However the Evaluation Committee (EC) recommended that perhaps the park be relocated in order to better serve the future residents of that area. Not a bad idea since the intention would not be to preserve the majority of the housing onsite but rather to tear down and rebuild, with the exception of PBC request number two from Habitat for Humanity.
The Habitat for Humanity request was recommended for submission to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for sponsorship. Habitat for Humanity would either renovate 20-32 of the existing units or build 20-30 duet style homes (a la the Buena Vista development) or a combination of the two.
So those two combined would take around 10 -12 acres I would guess. Eight as requested by the City of Alameda for park use and I’m generously attributing 2 – 4 acres for the Habitat for Humanity proposal.
The next set of proposals are under the Homeless accomodations requests, three were submitted, two made it past the first round which was just to determine that it was a “homeless accomodation” and only one made it through the EC. The three proposals were:
- Joint proposal from Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) and Building Futures for Women and Children (BFWC, they run Midway Shelter) to rehab five exisiting buildings to relocate Midway Shelter, provide a multi-service center and job training site.
- Joint proposal from City of Alameda Housing Authority, APC and BFWC to construct 120 units of permanent supportive housing (PSH) which would include a community center and management offices.
- East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) to rehab 11 existing buildings to create 88 permanently affordable rental units, 18 set aside for homeless families.
The EBALDC proposal was rejected because it was not considered a homeless accomodation project, see letter that starts on page 13 of the reader. The EC did not recommend moving forward with proposal number one (shelter, multi-service center, job training) saying that there wasn’t a clear need for a new shelter site, the multi-service center would be better located where there were more services such as retail, and the job training site could be accomodated with the PSH proposal rather than as a separate accomodation.
So the only homeless accomodation request recommended by the EC was number 2 above with modifications. The EC recommended that because that the final project be no more than 90 units covering 9 acres because of the 25% inclusionary zoning requirement for future redevelopment projects.
And even with the other PBC (10-12 acres) and this proposal (9) acres there is still half of the North Housing parcel that is unclaimed. What happens to this land you may be asking? Well, it goes to auction. Guesses to who might be interested in said land? Well, if I were Catellus (Alameda Landing) or SunCal (Alameda Point) certainly that parcel would be mighty attractive.
The final public hearing before the City Council sitting as the ARRA is scheduled for December 3rd.
As an aside, a Homeless Needs Assessment was created as part of this process, which is a pretty interesting read in itself, the eight main needs in order of priority are (taken directly from the assessment):
- Permanent Supportive Housing—There is a need for…housing designed for individuals, such as single-room occupancy facilities and housing for couples and small families…more diverse housing configuration types than the typical three and four bedroom single-family homes located at Alameda Point.
- Protection of Existing Affordable Housing Stock…
- Access to Basic Amenities—Homeless, sheltered, and formerly homeless individuals need access to transitional and supportive housing sites that are close to services and other retail establishments providing basic amenities, such as groceries, clothing, and toiletries…
- Transportation…Homeless, sheltered, and formerly homeless people need to get to jobs, training, medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other destinations to attend to their daily needs. Many felt the isolated location of Alameda Point created special challenges in regards to mobility, and many felt the area was underserved by public transportation.
- Educational Opportunities—Education and training, including basic life skills, such as childcare, nutrition, cooking, and establishing and managing a household budget…
- Programs for Children and Young Adults…
- Economic Opportunities… including technical training for sustainable
- Mentoring—Mentoring programs that establish connections to the community…
But the Needs Assessment is largely another topic for another day. Personally I think that the EC did an okay job at balancing out the proposals with other factors such as community needs and interests, etc… and so forth. I think where some folks on the City Council sitting as the ARRA will get hung up is the fact that even joint proposal from the Housing Authority, APC, and BFWC proposes to not save the existing structures and instead that they will construct entirely new units. Probably because they want to have some PSH units for individuals and the units are all 3 to 4 bedrooms which would be impractical for an individual, and besides, those units are probably so seriously dilapidated they are might not even be salvageable.
But there are Councilmembers (coughdougdehaancoughfrankmatarresecough) that are fixated on reuse. While I think that reuse is always a laudable first goal sometimes there are somethings that simply are not worth saving especially if it would cost more to rehabilitate it and not be suitable for the population.
If you are interested, Monday, November 24, 7:00 p.m. City Hall, it says City Council Chambers but there is a Planning Board meeting scheduled at the same time, so I’m not sure which meeting gets bumped.
PBC = Public Benefit Conveyance
EC = Evaluation Committee
APC = Alameda Point Collaborative
BFWC = Building Futures for Women and Children
EBALDC = East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
PSH = Permanent Supportive Housing
ARRA = Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority (City Council)