Trailers have been used for emergency housing in the event of a wildfire. Fifty-eight trailers are available, and 42 will be offered soon after being vacated by Camp Fire survivors. State funds will also be made available.
(TNS) — Gov. Gavin Newsom concluded his weeklong statewide homelessness tour Thursday in East Oakland, where he announced that Oakland would receive 15 state-owned trailers to house up to 70 homeless people.
A day earlier, Caltrans transported the former Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers to a vacant city-owned lot on Hegenberger Road near the Oakland Coliseum.
“We own this issue,” Newsom said. “It’s the issue of our time. This happened on our watch. None of us are naive about the challenge in front of us and none of us are stepping aside and waiting for someone else to solve it. We recognize our responsibility at all levels of government.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that six of the trailers will be used to house youths in cooperation with Covenant House, a social services organization in the city.
The remaining nine trailers will house families. The trailers — which reporters toured Thursday — included a stove, microwave, bathroom and mattress. The nonprofit Roots Community Health Center will offer social services and a job clinic to the residents.
“When we heard about the possibility of these emergency trailers being available to serve our homeless residents, Oakland was the first in line,” Schaaf said.
Trailers have been used to provide emergency housing in the event of a wildfire. Newsom said that 58 trailers are available and 42 will be made available soon after being vacated by Camp Fire survivors in Chico.
In addition, Newsom said Alameda County will receive about $38 million — $19.7 million for Oakland — in state funds to address the homelessness crisis.
The funds, which are to be distributed in “real-time,” will be used as emergency aid for rapid rehousing efforts, help with rent, health services and converting motels or hotels into permanent or supportive shelters.
California’s homeless population of 156,000 — up 16% in the past year — is the biggest in the United States and shows no sign of declining. In Oakland, homelessness skyrocketed in two years by 47% to 4,071. Oakland’s increase is one of the biggest among any California city. The city’s homeless population accounts for nearly half of Alameda County’s total — which increased by 43% since 2017.
Newsom signed an executive order on Jan. 8 announcing the state would deploy 100 trailers and crisis response teams to areas of need across the state. The trailers will house residents and mobile health and social services clinics until at least September.
Newsom said the delivery of the trailers is just a preview of what is to come in his plans to address the growing crisis.
“No one is naïve that 15 former FEMA trailers … is going to ‘solve’ the crisis,” Newsom said. “It’s about catalyzing a focus.”
Newsom’s order requires agencies to take “urgent and immediate action” by Jan. 31 to make state properties and facilities available as housing options.
His 2020-21 budget proposal includes more than $1 billion in funding to respond to the homeless crisis, including $750 million for a new fund for housing, as well as investments to reform Medi-Cal so that health providers transform health care to deliver integrated physical and behavioral health.
Newsom said Thursday that over the next few weeks, he plans to announce 100 state-owned properties — fairgrounds and other types of land — to be turned over to local jurisdictions to become Navigation Centers, shelters or permanent housing.
“We are committed for the long haul to be real partners with cities large and small, counties large and small,” he said.
Newsom’s homelessness tour began Monday and included stops in Grass Valley (Nevada County), Riverside, Los Angeles and Fresno.
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