I wanted to touch on the topic of the Navigation Center in San Francisco a little more because, in a former lifetime, the jobs I held focused either directly or indirectly around the subject of homelessness. Again, not saying that Alameda needs a Navigation Center, but, as suggested by other commenters yesterday, it would be helpful if Alameda provided services for homeless folks beyond just a backpack and displacement. A commenter mentioned possibly using old facilities or a shared facility to provide people a place for a shower. Another concern for a lot of people on the streets is having a secure place to store belongings.
Anyway, a bit more about the Navigation Center:
The goal is to house the homeless for as long as 10 days in the center, where they can be evaluated to determine what is needed: a trip back to their home city to live with family, to be considered for permanent housing or for drug-treatment or mental-health services.
But few places, if any, have tried an approach that pairs an intake center with the potential for access to permanent housing and social services, city officials and national experts said. The San Francisco program also offers storage for personal belongings and even a kennel for pets.
Of course, much like the challenges of most Bay Area cities right now, Alameda doesn’t have the resources or the political will to actually help much on the housing front even though studies have shown that the most cost effective way to eliminate homelessness is simply to provide homes for people. But with middle income families and individuals struggling to find housing that is affordable, very little is left to house the formerly homeless.
Of course Alameda has a ton of existing resources that would require much rehabilitation, but is a very real option. For example, let’s take the Alameda Commercial United plan for the old BEQs at Alameda Point. I’m not really sure what is happening with this, I’m assuming it’s dead? I dunno. Anyway, the plan was to turn it into dormitories for an international boarding school and pair it with senior housing. Given the proximity to the planned VA clinic, a condition of approval for future reuse of the BEQs, particularly if it’s any sort of residential at all, could be the allotment of certain units for either transitional placement or permanent supportive housing specifically for homeless veterans. It’s close enough to the Alameda Point Collaborative that they could help provide the services for the supportive housing.
But even starting small and helping out with basic necessities like I pointed out above: showers and storage would be a good and positive first step.