Archive for the ‘Homeless’ Category

Antioch Council recognizes Homelessness Awareness Month in November

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

During their Tuesday night, Nov. 24 meeting, the Antioch City Council approved the following resolution recognizing:

HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS MONTH

NOVEMBER 2020

WHEREAS, the month of November is recognized as Homelessness Awareness Month in the United States;

WHEREAS, the purpose of the proclamation is to educate the public and advocate with and on behalf of people experiencing homelessness about the many reasons people are homeless, including the shortage of affordable housing in Contra Costa County;

WHEREAS, there are over twenty organizations in Contra Costa committed to sheltering, providing supportive services, and/or basic resources to people experiencing homelessness;

WHEREAS, the City of Antioch recognizes that homelessness continues to be a serious problem for many individuals and families;

WHEREAS, the 2020 Point in Time Count identified 2,277 homeless individuals in Contra Costa County, with 52 percent experiencing a mental health condition, 50 percent with a substance use issue and 45 percent with a chronic health condition;

WHEREAS, 55 percent of the homeless population in Contra Costa County is between the ages of 25-54 and 33 percent of the population is aged 55 or older;

WHEREAS, 238 unhoused people were counted in the City of Antioch in Contra Costa County;

WHEREAS, a report by the California Housing Partnership found that Contra Costa County needs 33,477 more affordable rental homes to meet the needs of its lowest income renters.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SEAN WRIGHT, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby proclaim the month of November 2020, to be “Homelessness Awareness Month” and encourage all citizens to recognize that thousands of people in Contra Costa do not have housing and need support from citizens, and private/public non-profit service entities to address the myriad challenges of homelessness.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the resolution.

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Opponent says Wilson offers more talk no action on Antioch’s downtown Rivertown and homeless problem

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

Dear Editor:

Over five years ago, in 2015 the Antioch City Council approved the Downtown Specific Plan Update and finalized it in 2018. Yet nothing has happened to implement those plans since then. During Tuesday night’s Antioch City Council meeting incumbent Councilwoman Monica Wilson offered no action items for the rest of the council to vote on to help improve Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. It was just more talk from the council’s Waterfront subcommittee that she serves on.

Worse, the committee did not include all the business owners that have been trying to improve the downtown Rivertown or would like to upgrade their buildings. They have not publicized their meetings so that other Rivertown business and building owners can attend and give their input and ideas.

Monica has done more harm than good for our city’s downtown. Earlier this year she marched with protesters all the way down the middle of W. 2nd Street to the police station, blocking the road to traffic in front of businesses that were struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some of those businesses boarded up out of fear of looting and damage to their store windows. But Wilson did not care about the Rivertown businesses and the impacts of the protests. She was trying to score points with the protesters for another future run for higher office, which is what she really wants. Wilson wanted to be mayor, this year, and was unsuccessfully when she ran for Supervisor in 2016.

What has Wilson accomplished in her eight years on the council? For Rivertown, only one thing, when she voted in August to spend $15,000 on barriers for the restaurants to have outdoor dining where the parking stalls are located in front of their businesses. They have barely been used so that was a big waste of money. But that is it. Plus, the portable toilets for the homeless who stay in Waldie Plaza and along the railroad tracks.

That’s another thing she has done nothing about, other than vote to apply for five FEMA trailers from the state which arrived in March but are still sitting in the city’s maintenance yard, and to spend our tax dollars on consultants and a new city staff member. Monica voted last December to allocate over $500,000 to do something about the homeless problem in our city but then voted to spend $73,000 of it to hire a consultant on homelessness to help develop a plan to hire an Unhoused Resident Coordinator at a cost of $100,000 per year. Then, before anything was done with the rest of the money, Wilson voted to spend as much as $1 million to create a homeless hotel on E. 18th Street.

We need people on the city council who are going to take action and quit talking about improving Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown and actually do something about the homeless issue in our city. Plus, not promise us 22 police immediately then take six years to deliver on that commitment.

That is why I am running. If you want action and results and not just more talk and delays and kicking the can down the road, eventually getting around to it, I ask for your vote for Antioch City Council in District 4.

Thank you,

Sandra White

Antioch

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Contra Costa County appears to be overpaying for Pittsburg motel for homeless by more than $5 million, releases appraisal

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Assessor’s Parcel information for Motel 6. From ParcelQuest Lite website.

“In the interests of transparency” – Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt

The difference is primarily due to the below market purchase price” – from the appraisal

“This is a classic example of a gift of public funds” – County Assessor Gus Kramer

By Allen Payton

After learning that the county’s outside appraisal for the Motel 6 in Pittsburg was $16.7 million, and the purchase price offered by the Board of Supervisors of $17.4 million, was only 4.2% higher, it was learned today that the same motel sold for just $12 million in February 2019. In addition, it was assessed on January 1st, this year slightly higher at $12,226,480. After requesting a copy of the appraisal since last week, the County Counsel’s office released it, today “in the interests of transparency.” The appraisal states last year’s “purchase price was modified to $13,200,000.” (See related article)

Asked for copies of what was believed to be both internal and outside contract appraisals from the Public Works Department Real Estate Division, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt responded, “I’m only aware of one appraisal. It was contracted out. I can give you what the topline is, but the appraisal is not available until after escrow closes.”

“The appraised value is $16.7 million at $96,000 per room,” he stated. “It’s 4.2% above the appraised value.”

Asked if the appraisal was done internally or contracted out, Angstadt said, “We always contract out appraisals. We have staff with real estate licenses. But I don’t believe we have any licensed appraisers on staff.”

“The state was very public about how much they were willing to pay, at $100,000 per room,” he continued. “So, it didn’t leave us with much room to negotiate.”

“We have not signed the purchase and sale agreement, yet. That will happen once we finish the due diligence. We are working our way through all of it. It’s scheduled to close escrow on November 10th,” Angstadt added.

However, Angstadt released the appraisal to the Herald, today after obtaining permission from the County Counsel’s office. It was done by West Hollywood-based HVS Consulting & Valuation, a Division of TS Worldwide, LLC which, according to their website, provides highly credible hotel valuations and appraisals.”  (See page 13) HVS Appraisal – FINAL – Motel 6 – Pittsburg CA – 09

The sale price for the 41-year-old motel was $68,000 per room, last year.

In a search of the Assessor’s Parcel number for the property, which is 088-152-039 on the ParcelQuest Lite website, a link to which can be found on the Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s webpage and which any member of the public, county staff, Board of Supervisors and any appraiser can do, it provides the details of last year’s sale and this year’s valuation.

The closest comparable sale was the Ramada Inn, now Comfort Inn, in Antioch which sold in March 2017 for $50,000 per room. That’s a much higher end hotel than the Motel 6. Another comparable property, the Marina Bay Inn & Suites on Cutting Blvd. in Richmond near Pt. Richmond sold in August 2017 for $80,000 per room, and that’s in an area considered nicer than where the Motel 6 is located in Pittsburg.

“The real comparable sale is the property itself,” said County Assessor Gus Kramer, who has been an outspoken critic of the county’s purchase of the motel. (See related article)

“Did the appraiser back into the state’s and county’s number?” he asked. “How can the appraiser say the value of the motel increased in the last year by 45%? No property in the county has increased in value that much during that time.”

Asked when the property was assessed this year, Kramer said his staff did that on January 1st.

“This is a classic example of a gift of public funds,” he stated. “Just because the state is giving us this amount of money doesn’t mean we need to spend that much.”

“This is why local government is in trouble,” Kramer continued. “It’s not that they don’t have enough money it’s that they don’t manage what they have, well.”

An email was sent to all members of the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator David Twa and Angstadt asking them why there is such a difference in the value arrived at by the county’s contract appraiser as well as the offer price, and last year’s sale price and this year’s assessed valuation. They were also asked to confirm that the property in the online search was in fact the Motel 6, since it has the same address and the photo of it appears to be the motel. In addition, they were asked why the appraiser didn’t take into account the sale and assessed value for the motel and if they will now seek a second appraisal.

Text messages were also sent to Supervisors Federal Glover, in whose district the motel is located, Diane Burgis and Board Chair Candace Andersen informing them of the difference in appraised value and assessed valuation and to please check their emails.

The Board was holding a special closed session meeting, today beginning at 9 a.m. to discuss both Kramer’s lawsuit against the Board over allegations of violations of the state’s Brown Act open meeting law, as well as potential candidates to replace Twa who is retiring, this year.

Angstadt responded with, “The appraisal does include a discussion and analysis of the past sale of the property and the reasoning, changes and circumstances that led to the appraiser assigning the valuation they did.  As I said in our earlier discussion Government Code Section 6254(H) exempts release of the contents of an appraisal before the acquisition of the property is complete.  Therefore I can’t directly answer your question about how they justified the higher value, but I can assure you they did discuss the issues you raised and their methods of determining the higher value they assigned to the property.

However, California Government Code § 6254 (2017) reads “Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, this chapter does not require the disclosure of any of the following records:

(h) The contents of real estate appraisals or engineering or feasibility estimates and evaluations made for or by the state or local agency relative to the acquisition of property, or to prospective public supply and construction contracts, until all of the property has been acquired or all of the contract agreement obtained.”

A further question was asked if the county is prohibited from releasing the appraisal or just not required to and if they can release it to please provide it, as has been requested since last week.

In response Angstadt wrote, “I spoke with County Counsel and they said they we could disclose the appraisal at this time in the interests of transparency.  A number of the issues you raised are discussed starting on page 13.”

Appraisal Explanation for Higher Value Than 2019 Sale Price

On that page, the appraisal provides the reason for part of the higher price. It reads, “The ‘as is’ market value opinion in this appraisal is approximately 27% higher than the February 2019 purchase price. The difference is primarily due to the below market purchase price, as described throughout this report.”

In addition, the appraisal states the actual “purchase price was modified to $13,200,000”.

Please check back later for any responses from the Supervisors and any other updates.

Below is the information from the ParcelQuest Lite property search of the Motel 6 property located at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg.

Russell V. Watts , County Treasurer-Tax Collector

Property Address: 2101 LOVERIDGE RD PITTSBURG CA 94565-5019

Google Map of Motel 6 site. From ParcelQuest Lite.

Full Detail $14.95  The Full Property Detail includes everything displayed here plus completed information for those fields where “See Full Detail” is shown. If a field is empty on this page, no data is available, and the field will also be empty on the Full Property Detail.

Property Address: 2101 LOVERIDGE RD PITTSBURG CA 94565-5019

General Information

Parcel # (APN): 088-152-039-9 
Owner: See Full Detail
Mailing Address: 25920 VIA MARGARITA CARMEL CA 93923-8313
Legal Description: PCL MAP 78 PG 36 POR PCL A
Use Type: COMMERCIAL
Tax Rate Area: 007-004

Assessment

Total Value: $12,226,480 Year Assd: 2020
Land: $2,550,000 Zoning:
Structures: $9,424,800 Use Code: See Full Detail
Other: $251,680 Census Tract: See Full Detail
% Improved: See Full Detail Price/SqFt: See Full Detail
Exempt Amt:
HO Exempt: N

Sale History

Sale 1 Sale 2 Sale 3 Transfer
Document Date: 02/12/2019 See Full Detail See Full Detail
Document Number: 19052 See Full Detail See Full Detail
Document Type:
Transfer Amount: $12,000,000 See Full Detail
Seller (Grantor):

Property Characteristics

Bedrooms: Fireplace: Units: See Full Detail
Baths (Full): A/C: Stories:
Baths (Half): Heating: Quality:
Total Rooms: Pool: Building Class:
Bldg/Liv Area: 43,352 Park Type: Condition:
Lot Acres: 2.905 Spaces: Site Influence:
Lot SqFt: 126,542 Garage SqFt: Timber Preserve:
Year Built: 1979 Ag Preserve:
Effective Year: See Full Detail
**The information provided here is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed.

 

 

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors approve $17.4 million purchase of Motel 6 in Pittsburg as transitional housing for homeless

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Gov Newsom speaks at Motel 6 in Pittsburg to announce the state’s new Homekey program on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Screenshot from press conference video.

$21.6 million total for program; approved as a consent calendar item and the last item on the agenda without discussion; no appraisals included; Glover, Kramer split on issue; appraises at $16.7 million

Motel 6 Pittsburg. Photo by Motel 6.

By Daniel Borsuk

The light will be left on for homeless, now at the Motel 6 in Pittsburg. Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors may have quietly went about unanimously approving $21.6 million for the purchase of the motel and almost two years of operations, as part of the state’s Homekey program to help the homeless find shelter, food, jobs and get social services, but the Board’s consent action on Tuesday also demonstrates how far apart two political candidates – longtime District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover and challenger Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer – are on the issue of homelessness.

The agenda item was quietly acted on as a consent item, and the last on the agenda. There was no discussion on the item, nor were copies of the two appraisals by the county’s Public Works Real Estate Division included with the agenda. Attempts to obtain the appraised value for the property from members of the Board, County Administrator David Twa, and the Public Works Real Estate Division were unsuccessful prior to publication time. However, Supervisors Federal Glover, in whose district the motel is located, as well as Candace Andersen and Diane Burgis said they would work to provide the information. The only documents included with the agenda item were the purchase and sale agreement and deed of sale. Motel 6 Pittsburg – Purchase & Sale Agrmt final 10.12.20

Located at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg, the County, with the state’s financial assistance decided that acquisition of the Motel 6 will increase the number of shelter beds permanently available in East County from 20 beds to 174 beds, a 770 percent increase.  In addition to providing shelter, the program, funded under the state’s Home Key Program, would provide health care, behavioral health and other services to residents.

Contra Costa, along with the counties of San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara have now drawn state Homekey funds in the fight to solve homeless issues.

“This will be a great opportunity to get people off the street,” said Supervisor Glover who faces Kramer in a November 3rd face-off election because neither candidate drew enough votes to surpass 50 percent threshold of the total votes in the March election.  In that March election, the District 5 Board Seat had three candidates competing for the District 5 seat covering the communities of Antioch, Alhambra Valley, Clyde, Crockett, Hercules, Martinez, Mountain View, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Port Costa, and Rodeo – Glover, Kramer and Martinez businessman Sean Trambley – and no candidate had mustered votes exceeding 50 percent of the votes counted.  As a result, Glover and Kramer are in a run-off election on November 3.

The Contra Costa County Behavioral Department will operate the county’s Homekey program.

County Assessor Kramer, who must appear in Superior Court Judge John Cope’s court room on today, for a jury trial on civil “corrupt or willful misconduct” charges took a different view on the Board of Supervisors’ action to acquire the 174-room motel from OKC of Pittsburg for use as a homeless  facility.

Kramer lashed out at his political opponent Glover and other supervisors for spending $21 million.  “It’s a great program, but it is a waste of resources,” he said. “What a horrible investment.  Shame on the Board and Federal.”

Kramer did offer a potential solution to the homeless problem in the county and perhaps the state by creating camps like what occurred during the Great Depression where job, health and other public services would also be provided to individuals.

10/27/20 UPDATE: Asked for copies of the appraisal, Chief Assistant County Administrator Eric Angstadt responded, “I’m only aware of one appraisal. It was contracted out. I can give you what the topline is, but the appraisal is not available until after escrow closes.”

“The appraised value is $16.7 million at $96,000 per room,” he stated. “It’s 4.2% above the appraised value.”

Asked if the appraisal was done internally or contracted out, Angstadt said, “We always contract out appraisals. We have staff with real estate licenses. But I don’t believe we have any licensed appraisers on staff.”

“The state was very public about how much they were willing to pay at $100,000 per room,” he continued. “So, it didn’t leave us with much room to negotiate.”

“We have not signed the purchase and sale agreement, yet. That will happen once we finish the due diligence. We are working our way through all of it. It’s scheduled to close escrow on November 10th,” Angstadt added.

Orange COVID-19 Metric Next Week?’ 

Supervisors were informed that by next Tuesday the county should transition into the orange COVID-19 criteria, Contra Costa County Health Services Director Anna Roth said.  “We should meet the orange metric next week,” she said.  A move to an orange metric would mean the removal of further restrictions on some businesses.

Since the County declared a State of Emergency because of COVID-19 in March, there have been 18,214 cases and 236 deaths, Roth reported.

The health director encouraged the public to continue to wash hands, keep their distance, and stay home from work or school if they felt ill.

Four Abatement Actions

Supervisors acted on four abatement actions at the recommendations of the Conservation and Development Department.

Properties the Supervisors took action on were:

Property at 2738 Dutch Slough Road, Oakley, owned by Elmo G. Wurts, for $8,141.20; property at 0 Stone Road, Bethel Island, owned by Thanh Ngyyen for $6,964;  property at 4603 Gateway Road, Bethel Island, owned by Franks Marina for $5,591.20; and property at 3901 La Colina Road, El Sobrante, owned by Rudolph N. Webbe for $3,256.70.

Supervisors did not hear any comments from either property owners or the public on the abatement items.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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News photographer, videographer shares heartbreaking story of young homeless woman living in tunnel below Highway 4 in Pittsburg

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Homeless woman walking barefoot, with firefighters who were there to extinguish the fire in the tunnel beneath Hwy 4. Photos by Art Ray.

Firefighters extinguish fire in tunnel where she’s been living.

By Art Ray

It’s starting to get cooler at night if you have a place to sleep, you can thank God.

I responded to. a working fire in the underpass beneath Highway 4 at Century Blvd. in Pittsburg. When I got there I saw a young, homeless woman, and I do mean young. She was lying down on a nasty mattress behind some metal bars. The arriving firemen grabbed a saw and cut the gate open so they could put a hose on the fire.

What got me was that the young woman remained on the mattress with smoke pouring out of the tunnel. She didn’t have the capacity to get away from the smoke or fire. Finally, she walked out of the tunnel bare foot stepping on glass, rocks and all kinds of dangerous things. As she passed by me, I asked “where are your shoes?” to which she replied she didn’t have any.

The point of this story is not that I went and got her a pair of shoes from the store but that she has some demons that has her early, 20-year-old self, homeless and living under a highway. She didn’t even have the mental capacity to follow my directions and to walk the one block down to the store to meet me to get the new shoes.

Homeless woman painting her lighter with nail polish, the mattress where she slept surrounded by garbage in the tunnel, and a firefighter at the gated entrance to one side of the tunnel below Hwy 4. Photos by Art Ray.

I had to go driving around to find her. When I did find her, she was sitting on the ground painting a cigarette lighter with fingernail polish. When I walked up to her with the shoe bag she never even looked up to me when I gave her the new blue shoes she was fixated on the nail polish and lighter. That’s when I realized that’s there are bigger issues than being homeless. There are thousands of homeless people that are not thinking straight.

After dropping off the shoes I went to meet with the county’s homeless advocate to see if they could help the young sister. He told me he would leave his office and go find her as soon as he got done checking in another homeless person into the newly opened homeless residence the state just bought from Motel 6.

I’m saying all of this to encourage everyone to find a way they can help another human being instead of just complaining about the homeless problem.

Most police departments and counties have resources you can plug into. Maybe you have a warm coat or shoes you don’t wear anymore. Be a part of the homeless solution not a person that finds pleasure in complaining about the homeless. Trust this. Many of the homeless have issues they are battling in their heads. It’s getting cold out. Are you willing to find a way to get involved? Perhaps it’s through your church. Like they say, it takes a village. We are all our brother’s, or in this case, our sister’s keeper.

This is a story that I needed to photograph and tell. I included a picture of the nasty mattress in the filth someone’s daughter or sister was laying on when I arrived. Notice I didn’t include her face so she could retain some kind of dignity.

Art Ray is owner of Bay News Video providing video footage to Bay Area news stations and online media.

video footage to Bay Area news stations and online media.

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Letter writer condemns District 2 council candidate Barbanica’s approach on homelessness

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

Dear Editor:

District 2 Antioch City Council candidate Mike Barbanica offers two solutions to the problem of homelessness in Antioch: breakup homeless encampments and deny the homeless services. He also mentions arresting them. Breaking up encampments is an old solution that we have seen fail. It undermines the effort to get the homeless into housing. It is also now illegal.

Antioch took a similar approach on the issue of the growing number of Section 8 residents. This policy was halted, and the city settled a lawsuit with those residents after the city was accused of discrimination. Running people out of town is not the answer. It is a failed approach. It is a shameful solution. It makes the problem worse. California’s Right to Rest Act makes such actions illegal. (See related article)

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (“USICH”), an organization composed of nineteen federal cabinet and agency heads to advance federal collaboration to end family homelessness, has recognized that sweeps and the seizure of the personal property of the homeless is harmful and counterproductive. The USICH report, “Ending Homelessness for People Living in Encampments,” finds that “forced dispersal” of encampments is “inappropriate and undermines the goal of linking people to permanent housing opportunities.”

In the California Right to Rest Act of 2018 the California State Legislature defines harassment against the homeless as, “a knowing or willful course of conduct by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or agent directed at a specific person that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, consider pestering, troubling, disturbing, or threatening.”
When it comes to homelessness Antioch has other obligations.

The requirement to provide for housing and shelter for low-income and homeless individuals as stated in Antioch’s General Plan and to adhere to the requirements of government code is an “obligatory duty which a governmental entity is required to perform,” not a permissive one. Antioch’s mandatory duty created by California Government Code § 65583 et seq., known as the California Housing Accountability Act requires the city to provide for housing and shelter for low-income and homeless individuals.

Michael Kitterman

American Citizens Institute

A Research and Analysis Public Charity

AmericanCitizensInstitute.org

 

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Innovative, collaborative project launching in Antioch to uplift lives of homeless in Contra Costa

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Photo courtesy of White Pony Express.

SHARE Community and White Pony Express are pleased to announce that on September 29, 2020, the “Oasis Project,” designed to brighten and uplift the lives of unsheltered neighbors in our community, will be launched in Antioch, CA.  Among other services, Oasis will include a 2-unit Mobile Shower, and a Clothing & Care Closet, which will be stocked with high quality clothes that guests can choose from. To celebrate the opening of Oasis, a short ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at Golden Hills Community Church’s Community Outreach Center, located at 525 E. 18th Street in Antioch.

Initially, Oasis will be stationed at the Community Outreach Center and operated on Tuesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  The Mobile Shower, which is ADA certified, will be the only operating shower unit for the unhoused in East Contra Costa County.  It will be free for the public to use with no questions asked.  Also, there will be no charge for any of the other services offered by Oasis.

Even though several partners are involved, the project is called “Oasis” to give it a unified identity.  During its operation, Oasis will include:

  • Mobile showers with bathrooms, organized by SHARE, that any guest is free to use.
  • A “Clothing & Care Closet” operated by White Pony Express (WPE) that will provide clothes that guests can select from free of charge.
  • Medical referral services provided by Contra Costa Health Services’ Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement team (C.O.R.E.), and
  • Free haircuts offered by licensed hair stylists.

“The opening of the Oasis Project on September 29 has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it makes me extremely happy that the project is now ready to begin elevating the lives of our unsheltered neighbors,” remarked Ricka Davis-Sheard, Co-Founder of SHARE Community.  “We have been working closely with the nonprofit LavaMaex in preparation for our launch, who has helped us with everything from in-depth training to troubleshooting issues with our Shower unit.  We have learned from an agency that has been around for years and which consistently provides a high level of care for their guests.”

Prior to its acquisition by SHARE, the Mobile Shower had been owned by WPE.  WPE volunteer Peter Brooks spent over two years diligently looking for a place to set up and operate the Mobile Shower, and in the process contacted numerous groups.

Finally, Brooks met Davis-Sheard at SHARE and was immediately impressed by her earnestness to help the unsheltered.  Says Brooks, “Ricka was the light at the end of the tunnel of my long search.  She saw the Mobile Shower as a perfect fit for the work SHARE wanted to do in East County.  What she had in mind was exactly what WPE had in mind.”

As the project evolved, Brooks suggested that the group of services offered with the Mobile Shower be called the Oasis Project.  “My hope is that the whole experience, for people in the ‘desert’ of hard urban homelessness, will be like travelers in the Sahara finding relief in an oasis.”

WPE operates the White Pony General Store which distributes high quality clothing, shoes, books, and games to those in need.  “For Oasis, our General Store will operate a well-organized, inviting ‘Clothing & Care Closet’ so that guests can make selections based on their unique tastes and needs,” says Eve Birge, Executive Director of WPE.  “The Closet will have items like shirts, jeans, jackets, shoes, undergarments, and other items useful to our unhoused neighbors.  WPE will treat those who visit Oasis as our special guests and support them with love and dignity, offering only our best.”

Concludes Davis-Sheard, “We want people to emerge from Oasis looking brand-new and transformed.”

The hope is that if Oasis is successful at its initial location, it can move to other locations across the County to serve the needs of the unhoused population.

About SHARE Community

SHARE Community was co-founded by Ricka Davis-Sheard and Vincent Vidriales in 2019.  Its mission is to share hope, abundance, resources and encouragement with members of the community and the organizations who serve them by creating ways for people to work together toward positive change.  In addition to mobile showers,

SHARE Community serves East Contra Costa County through its community programs Adopt-a-Block and Adopt-a-Senior-Home. These programs provide much needed care and attention to underserved neighborhoods and seniors.

For more information about SHARE, visit: www.thesharecommunity.com

About White Pony Express   

White Pony Express, headquartered in Pleasant Hill, CA and founded by Dr. Carol Weyland Conner in 2013, operates a Food Rescue Program which picks up quality surplus food every day from supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets and then delivers that food—free of charge—to shelters and churches that feed the hungry.  Since its founding in 2013, WPE has delivered over twelve and a half million pounds of fresh food.  WPE also has a General Store that has distributed over 500,000 items of high-quality clothing, toys, and books free to the underserved.

For more information on WPE, visit www.whiteponyexpress.org

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State grants $21.5 million for County to buy Pittsburg motel for homeless transitional care center

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

Gov Newsom speaks at Motel 6 in Pittsburg to announce the state’s new Homekey program on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Screenshot from press conference video.

Motel 6 to be repurposed through a California Homekey Grant; site of Gov. Newsom’s press conference about Project Roomkey in June

A 174-room motel in Pittsburg now sheltering homeless Contra Costa residents at high risk from COVID-19 will become a permanent service hub to help county residents transition into stable living situations, thanks to a $21.5 million state grant.

Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) rented rooms at the Motel 6 at 2101 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to provide temporary housing through the state’s Project Roomkey program, which funded hotel rooms for residents who could not effectively isolate themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic because they had lost their housing. Gov. Newsom held a press conference at the motel about the program on June 30th. (See related article)

Homekey, the state’s follow-up program, will commit $17.4 million toward the county’s purchase and renovation of the motel, for a cost of $100,000 per room. The state will provide another $4.17 million toward staffing and operating the former motel as temporary housing for county residents experiencing homelessness, with on-site healthcare and behavioral health services, meals and assistance connecting with the services they need to regain housing.

“We are proud to partner with California in our work to provide safe, sustainable services for vulnerable members of our community,” said Candace Andersen, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

There were only 20 shelter beds available in East County for more than 500 people living outside there in January 2020, most in Antioch and Pittsburg. The county’s most recent homeless point-in-time count showed that 33 percent of residents living outside in Contra Costa were in East County, compared to 27 percent recorded there during the 2019 count.

CCHS will add the new East County CARE Center and interim housing program to its network of homeless service centers, shelters and outreach programs, helping to address an acute shortage of those services in the area.

“This is a great start toward the building services and resources East County needs to address homelessness,” said Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover, whose district includes the site. “There is a critical need for this project in our community.”

The grant includes funding for case management, housing navigation services, meals and a robust peer support program, among other services.

“The funding allows us to accelerate our efforts to provide shelter for people living without housing in the eastern region of our county,” said Lavonna Martin, CCHS’s Director of Heath, Housing and Homeless Services. “This project creates a new interim housing option that allows for a greater degree of privacy and flexibility in household configurations we can serve, with the critical services and supports they need to regain permanent housing.”

Motel 6 was one of four in Contra Costa contracted to shelter vulnerable residents who had no housing early in the COVID-19 pandemic, partially funded by California’s Project Roomkey. CCHS is now renting 494 rooms at these motels to house people experiencing homelessness, including more than 200 people at Motel 6 who will continue to receive services and progress toward self-sufficiency under Homekey.

Visit cchealth.org/h3 for recent data about homelessness in Contra Costa County. Annual point-in-time count information is available in the Data Reports section.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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