Archive for the ‘Homeless’ Category

Antioch Council approves hiring homeless coordinator on split vote, asks staff for costs on homeless solutions

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Aerial photo of illegal RV park at 701 Wilbur Avenue. Photo by City of Antioch.

Postpones enforcement at illegal RV park; finalizes 70% pay raise; approves $75,000 for Veterans Memorial relocation

By Allen Payton

After discussion and debating for over an hour, at their Tuesday night Sept. 10th meeting, about recommendations by the Homeless Encampment Task Force, the Antioch City Council ended up giving staff direction to return to their first meeting in October with cost estimates for each of the proposals. Homeless Task Force Recommendations ACC091019

“So, we spent seven months on this process. We had things throughout the day posted on Facebook. We heard from a whole bunch of people,” Thorpe said. “I’m pretty pleased with the amount of feedback and engagement we received. The recommendations are in phases. But the comments…are absent of the progress that we’ve made and the discussions we’ve had. I understand people don’t always have the entire picture.”

“It’s very difficult…to serve you if you don’t have a place to live. It’s very difficult for county to get people into services if they’re living on the street. The federal government for the past four decades have been disinvesting in federal housing programs, whether it was Democrat or Republican administrations.”

“I’m a little bit, kind of confused,” Ogorchock said. “The Ad Hoc Committee is asking for certain things. Again, I’m kind of confused where to put my comments, whether it be on this item or the next (Unhoused Resident Coordinator). We have Teri House (the city’s grant management consultant), who works with the county and the consortium of care. We do have the CDBG grant monies and it’s not enough in there for the non-profits we work with.”

The plan is to discuss “our recommendations, and then put the position after that,” Thorpe explained.

“I had a good, long conversation with (Contra Costa County Health, Housing, and Homeless Services Director) Lavonna Martin, today,” Mayor Sean Wright stated. “To her statement she was only involved in the one (task force meeting) she attended. I asked her what she thought about these recommendations and she said she hadn’t seen them. So, I was surprised.”

“I don’t know what kind of conversation you had with her, but I am floored by that comment,” Thorpe responded. “We had four follow up meetings with Lavonna Martin. The county is not going to give us anything for people on the street. There is no capacity at any shelter. Call 2-1-1 and see if you can get housing. It’s not about what Lavonna Martin says.”

“She said she was not heavily involved in the recommendations, which was surprising to me,” Wright stated.

“The meetings were over the phone and the city manager was on the phone with us,” said Motts. “We asked her what we should do to get people off the streets, and she said, ‘shelter’. We took her expertise.”

Wright then mentioned “the consortium for the homeless at the county level,” and asked Teri House to speak.

“The Homeless Continuum of Care is where all the money flows into and out of for homeless,” House stated. “I wasn’t involved with coming up with those items, specifically. But I have a whole laundry list, without having to spend $120,000 to hire someone to come up with. I could rattle off a dozen things from $125,000 to $1 million. This is what we do all day long. I not only sit on the council for the homeless. I already have all the relationships with all the homeless agencies. I would be thrilled to provide you the laundry list of things you can spend funds on in the next two weeks, rather than wait months.

“And that’s the conversation I had with Lavonna…that this would be duplicating efforts by creating the position,” Wright stated.

“Maybe on down the line you might need to hire a coordinator,” House stated. “You can’t work outside of the Continuum of Care…so, if you want access to shelter beds…the Core team is the only ones who can get them into shelter beds. They’re currently filled with people who are extremely frail and vulnerable.”

“Lavonna wanted to make it clear, the concept of temporary. None of these things are temporary. We are taking on the obligation as a city permanently. Once you take them on, they become the fabric of what you take on as a city,” Wright added.

“If we set up a temporary camp for 100 and we have 300, we know there are 200 out there,” House explained. “We have to work on prevention for those who might become homeless.

“I spoke with Lavonna, today, as well. She reiterated the same thing,” Ogorchock said. “The library has agreed to become a warming center.”

“All the subsidy goes through the Continuum of Care,” House said. “All federal…state funds go through the Continuum of Care. That’s how HUD set it up. So, none of the funds will be coming to the city.

I am the federal grants, housing and homelessness consultant,” House said in response to a question by Ogorchock. Around $125,000 is spent on homelessness, each year, out of the Community Development Block Grant Funds.

“I would rather see this money to go to Teri, because she has all the connections. She has been doing this for 23 years. So, why would we want to reinvent the wheel,” Ogorchock stated.

“So, you are basically our HUD coordinator, so you have access to resources,” Councilwoman Monica Wilson asked. “Do you also work with our population for getting into direct services?”

“The city doesn’t do any of that,” House responded.

“What do you currently do?” Wilson asked

“The same thing everyone else does to get them into the system,” House said. “You call Core. We subcontract with all the non-profits.”

“I feel like something is missing in there, a key component,” Wilson stated. “If I’m homeless or a victim of sexual abuse, it’s easier for me to go to one point.”

“Oh, definitely,” House responded. “That’s why we want to get a care center built out here as soon as possible. There are beds in central county and Richmond. There’s nothing here in East County.”

“What you’re referring to is a care center, which we’re about two to three years away,” Motts stated. “So, you’re speaking of a continuum of care, how you can say we’ll be operating outside of that.”

“If you’re doing your own service delivery and you’re not doing it through the county…then you don’t have access to those shelters,” House explained.

“That’s what we planned to do. There are silos of all these people doing things but no one working together,” Motts said.

“There are services we can deliver outside of that…have Lavonna at the table to figure that out,” House stated.

“You spoke about it was shelter, first. Is that still your thought process?” Motts asked.

“Absolutely,” House responded. “You can’t get them all that they need…if they don’t have a stable place to be.”

Thorpe then spoke about “the temporary nature is showers, and toilets, laundry. That’s what we’re referring to when we say ‘temporary’. We’re getting away from the focus on housing. People need to get housed. So, if you didn’t do recommendation one or two, but just focused on housing.

“Teri, do you coordinate toilets in downtown?” asked Thorpe.

“No,” House replied.

“Do you coordinate showers?” he then asked.

“That’s something I could coordinate with Ron (Bernal),” said.

“Do you coordinate laundry?” Thorpe asked, again.

“Do we have that in the city? That’s something we can do,” House replied.

“Your warming centers, your care centers are not a housing solution. I don’t need anyone to verify that,” Thorpe stated. “We are not looking to duplicate the Continuum of Care. It’s not written anywhere. This position is specifically

“I didn’t ask for $120,000. I didn’t ask for a position. I asked for a consultant. City staff did that.”

“All we’re trying to do is get people into housing. The ultimate goal is housing,” he exclaimed.

“Lavonna Martin said, a consultant would be duplicative of what we have done,” Wright said. “If we’re going to put housing first, a cot-type of housing, to run a 100 cot, it would cost $1.5 million. Is that what we’re asking?”

“A cot?” asked Thorpe. “No. A transitional shelter then permanent housing. The entry points to go through services is to get you to permanent housing. If the county isn’t going to provide them housing, then we have to provide the housing.”

“There are many things communities are doing,” Motts stated.

“The difference between finding immediate shelter versus transitional housing, where it be converted shipping containers or ToughSheds,” Thorpe said.

“Our county doesn’t have enough housing stock,” House said. “Studio apartments is where you start. We simply don’t have enough housing stock for single individuals. So, they’re looking at

“In a housing first model, is there something we as a city can do that you aren’t already doing?” Wright asked.

“Money,” House responded. “There is a dozen and one idea. Case management. Helping them with a search. Working with a non-profit agency that can get them a master lease for that unit.”

“The stock is the issue, if there is no stock and that’s the model we push for,” Wright said. “A cot model at $1.5 million. That does not become temporary. There is constant homeless coming in.”

“We have more inflows in our system of care than outflows,” she responded.

“I agree with everything you just said,” Thorpe said.

“Until I see hard numbers in front of me…I can’t just blindly say ‘yes, let’s move forward’,” Wright stated.

“We can get you that information within two weeks,” House said.

Ogorchock asked about working with the Interfaith Council and offering parking spaces for safe places at night.

“We’ve been coordinating with the Interfaith Council for the churches to provide shelter,” House responded.

“These are temporary things and we do need housing to put people back into homes,” Ogorchock stated. “Some of these things shouldn’t be temporary. The garbage bins, bathrooms. Some of these should be permanent.”

“When I was homeless that was the constant thing, trying to find a public restroom to use before I went to work,” House stated.

Wright asked Bernal what the city is already doing, with regards to the two portable toilets in downtown.

“They’re working well,” Bernal responded.

Wright then asked the City Attorney about a “no camping ordinance”.

“We can’t enforce that, correct?” he asked.

“I believe your analysis is correct,” City Attorney Thomas Smith responded.

“We need someone to coordinate this,” Motts stated. “Some place for safe parking. There are people living in cars and RV’s all over our community. People talk about how there is human waste affecting our economic viability. But we need someone coordinating that effort. Whether it’s a housing coordinator or it’s you, I don’t really care.”

“We’re spending money and it’s not going anywhere,” she stated. “Either we want to fix this or we don’t and it’s going to cost us money.”

“We can put out an RFP and hire somebody to coordinate this. Whether you need a full-time coordinator to do this or we can do the things through the non-profits,” House said.

“Lavonna Martin said if she could find a city that would come up with the money, she would coordinate that,” Wright stated.

“But, it’s her model,” Thorpe responded. “We posed the same thing to Lavonna. If we gave her money to accommodate Antioch, it would not go to housing.”

“Richmond went to her and said if we give you this money will you coordinate it, and she did,” Wright said.

“Can you put something together quickly, within the next two weeks and bring it before council?” Ogorchock asked.

“I’d like to think of these things as principles and we would look at them from different approaches,” Thorpe said. “Who does it I could care less. Which direction we go in, I don’t think that should be delayed.”

“I’m not willing to blanketly say ‘let’s do all this’,” Wright said. “I’m willing to go down this road and look at all these things.”

“So, would this be a problem to bring things back in the next two weeks? I want to move forward on this,” Ogorchock said.

“If that’s not the direction Ron wants to go in,” Thorpe said.

“I’d like to discuss Teri’s current responsibility with the Community Development Director,” Bernal said. “My understanding is to go fast. Some of these things will come back, which we can go faster. There’s a lot of research from an infrastructure standpoint. The council wasn’t going to make any decisions, tonight.”

“We’re giving direction, we’re not deciding immediate actions” as the agenda item was written, Wright said.

“I agree with the mayor on that,” Ogorchock said.

“We’re not committing to anything but the principles,” Thorpe said. “Ron said it beautifully. I’m prepared, if you, Joy are prepared to make a motion.”

“I do agree that the wording of this is problematic,” Smith interjected. Because the way it reads is that action is supposed to be taken. There’s a whole lot of information missing of what that consists of.”

“We’re just adopting, here’s the concept, we like it,” Thorpe said.

“If you case it in a direction, that would be better,” Smith stated. “If there is to be some action taken, we can bring that back.”

“What I think I would like to do…if Teri has the capacity, for her to come back with a report at the next council meeting,” then from there make a decision on further pursuing these,” Bernal said. “It’s my understanding, Teri has a full plate. This takes a consultant, a part-time commitment. It can’t be hit or miss, to work for two weeks, then take time off.”

“My concern is we’re heading into winter and the longer people will be on the streets,” Motts said. “The sooner the better.”

“I don’t want to get to the point of overanalyzing,” Wilson stated. “If two council members aren’t here, let’s still move forward. I don’t want to be here, a year from now and nothing has been done. Maybe with the help of the ad hoc committee, Teri, we can get it done in 48 hours.”

“To me, I’m excited, it sounds like we’re moving forward,” Thorpe said.

Ultimately the council gave staff unofficial direction, without a vote, to come back with costs for each of the recommendations at the first council meeting in October.

Approves Unhoused Resident Coordinator Position

During the agenda item on creating a new, Unhoused Resident Coordinator, city staff spoke first. Unhoused Resident Coordinator ACC091019

“It really didn’t click to do it as a consultant,” said Nickie Mastay, during her staff report. “Other cities don’t have all the responsibilities in one position. Richmond…Concord…BART have separate positions.

“The reason we were pretty adamant to have a consultant because we didn’t want to go through the hiring process, which takes time,” Thorpe said. “I’m still for this. It doesn’t have to be a position. I would like the city manager to move as quickly as possible on this.”

“Are you still recommending we have a resident coordinator,” Motts asked Thorpe.

“I’m recommending a consultant to get moving quickly,” he responded.

“Teri already has many reports,” Wright said. “With that we can spend less money on a consultant than what we’re actually delivering to the homeless.”

“We’re talking about coordinating things, not producing reports,” Thorpe said.

“The first thing to do is a feasibility study. I want to see the reports already produced,” Wright responded. “I would rather wait to see we have that full-on need before we approve that.”

“I’m still lost in your thinking,” Thorpe said. “As an example, Ron did all the work for coordinating the port-a-potties. That’s something the coordinator would do. I’m not asking the county to do anything. We will identify properties. I’m not clear how the county fits in on all that. That’s why I’m comfortable with moving forward.

“I’m not saying not never, but that’s just me,”

“This is duplicative of things we just discussed in Item 5,” Ogorchock said. “If Teri is the person to do that, we will see that in the next meeting. I would rather see this money go to…housing.”

“I see both points of view, here,” Motts said. “There was no collaborative. There was no one place for non-profits, anybody to go to deal with homelessness and all the other problems that go along with that. There are all these agencies, there’s no cohesive effort within the City of Antioch. Teri already has a full plate. I’m thrilled she’s willing to do all of the analysis. But, going forward we need to have somebody in place. Not a permanent position.”

“I think when Teri brings back her recommendations, she will say you need someone to oversee this or oversee that,” Wright said.

“For any consultant, how long is the process…before this person comes on board?” Wilson asked Mastay.

“It could be as little as two weeks. We usually do it for one month,” Mastay responded.

“Teri could come back with her report and we could make adjustments to that,” Wilson said.

“Because we declared a homeless emergency, we voted 5-0, we don’t want to go through this long process,” Thorpe said.

“It could be a sole-source decision,” Bernal said. “If it’s more than $50,000 then it would have to come back to council.”

“I don’t know if it qualifies for a sole-source,” Attorney Smith said.

Thorpe then attempted to move approval of creating the position of Unhoused Resident Coordinator as a consultant with the hourly and maximum annual pay, which opened up a further discussion and debate.

“I’d like to not include the salary range, as that’s not enough to hire an outside consultant,” Bernal stated.

“Do we have to know how much we’re going to spend?” Wright asked.

“Two things would probably be helpful, a per hour cap and a total amount the council is dedicating to the position,” said Smith.

“Yes, that is correct, either an hourly range or a total commitment,” Mastay said.

“I would say up to $100,000,” Bernal stated.

Thorpe then made the motion to approve the position as a consultant, with pay of $50 to $60 per hour and a maximum of $100,000. It passed 3-2 with Wright and Ogorchock voting against.

Postpones Enforcement of Illegal RV Park

On a third homeless-related item during Tuesday night’s meeting, the Antioch City Council postponed enforcing the city’s codes at an illegal RV park at 701 Wilbur Avenue. Illegal RV Park Enforcement ACC091019

City Manager Ron Bernal asked if the council wanted him to look for other locations where the residents could relocate their RV’s or to help rezone the property to allow for it to be an RV park.

“It’s the city’s goal to not displace people, but the city has ordinances to uphold,” Bernal stated.

“I personally don’t want to see these people moved out on October 1st,’ Wright said. “So, I support the recommendations.

“I support the recommendations, but I’m not sure of this effort to help them locate somewhere else,” Thorpe said. “The idea that we would be nice and put them somewhere else (and pay market rate prices). We do have rules, but at the same time we have to keep people where they’re asking to be at. With clarification that ‘we’ did not do this.”

“I’m for the recommendations, but my fear is if we don’t work on this, it would open up other parts of the city for this,” Ogorchock stated.

Wilson agreed and was concerned about putting the residents “back on the street.”

“It’s ridiculous to think we would find a more affordable place for them to stay,” Motts said. “We absolutely have to give an extension on this action to vacate.”

“The extension is not part of what is encapsulated in this agenda item, today,” Attorney Smith said.

“Our number one goal is to rezone or create an overlay,” Thorpe added.

“This is October 1st, so are we going to expedite the process so we find solutions, here?” Motts asked.

“I can’t guarantee we’ll be done by October 1st,” Bernal said.

“The city manager has discretion, under exigent circumstances, around this,” said Smith.

“Citations issued on October 1st can be appealed to the Board of Administrative Appeals and then to the City Council,” said Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs.

“Only a member of the city council

“We’re not kicking these people out before council, OK?” Wright said, to applause form the audience. “I’m not. That’s not a voted on motion. I’m just making myself heard.”

Council Members Pay Raise Finalized

The issue returned to the council agenda for a second and final reading. (See related article from previous council meeting).

“I would ask that the city council reconsider their decision from the last meeting” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “I suggest a 5% increase beginning in 2021 and 5% each year thereafter.”

“This would be the first increase for the Antioch City Council in 13 years,” said City Attorney Thomas Smith. “The two cities closest in size, Concord and Richmond, currently pay more in council salaries.”

“You can’t automatically have a pay raise,” Councilman Lamar Thorpe said.

“There is no automatic raise,” Thomas confirmed.

With that Thorpe made the motion to approve the pay raise and it passed on a 4-1 vote, with Ogorchock voting against.

Council Approves Budget for Veterans Memorial Relocation

After settling the controversy over locating new, public restrooms next to the Veterans Memorial at the entrance to the Antioch Marina, the council approved spending $75,000 to relocate the memorial. It will be located into the center of the roundabout at the entrance to the marina and boat launch.

Although the council was hoping to have it completed in time for this year’s Veterans Day celebration on November 11th, city staff said they wouldn’t be able to achieve that goal.

Instead, J.R. Wilson of the Delta Veterans Group who led the effort to relocate the memorial, suggested a celebration event once the new site was completed.

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Coalition of homeless advocates to stage sleep-in protest at Antioch City Hall once they obtain a permit

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

The original flyer distributed by organizers who say a new one will be created once they obtain a permit.

Tried to keep it secret from councilmembers; one organizer reconsidering participation in effort

By Allen Payton

A flyer being distributed via social media by a group labeling themselves Antioch Homeless Advocacy Coalition said they were going to be holding “One Homeless Night” at Antioch City Hall Tues., July 9 through Wed. morning, July 10.

The effort is to “protest the City of Antioch’s policies and their lack of a shelter or warming/cooling center for homeless residents.” It was to run from 10:00 AM Tuesday through 10:00 AM Wednesday.

The event flyer also includes a message “Please keep this event private. Do not post on social media. We want our city council members to be surprised.” However, city officials had already been made aware of the effort and received a copy of the flyer days before The Herald received it.

According to the flyer, the coalition includes three organizations listed on the flyer, Facing Homelessness in Antioch led by Nichole Gardner, Urban Upreach, which was formed in Antioch in March by Ashley Mahan, and Shower House Ministries, which is led by Ken Rickner and provides free showers to the homeless in Antioch. (See related article). (NOTE: An earlier version of this article had the incorrect organization of the same name based in Seattle for the Antioch based Facing Homelessness, Inc. The Seattle organization’s name and website is what appears first in an online search.)

9:30 PM UPDATE: However, the protest has been postponed because the group has chosen to obtain a city permit from to hold the event.

Instead of responding to questions emailed to them (see below) via email or phone call, Gardner and Mahan chose to create a video response and post it on YouTube by Gardner and Mahan, “We’re here to let everybody know in the community that we weren’t trying to be sneaky or not let everybody know what exactly we’re doing,” said Mahan. “We didn’t pull the permit for the protest so we were having it on a different day. That’s why it (the flyer) wasn’t released. Not that we were trying to do something to not let everybody know about it or to piss off the government.”

“We already know that the city had our protest flyer. It’s not new to us,” she continued. “So, to inform everybody we just changed the date. And when we have the protest, we’ll let everybody know what we are doing.”

“It was no news to the city council, what we were going to do, as we sit on the Homeless Task Force,” Mahan stated.

However, Rickner wasn’t aware they had changed the date or were going to pull a permit to hold the protest.

Gardner’s group, according to their Facebook page, “was created to bring awareness for those living in our city of Antioch that are without shelter and other basic needs. Want to get involved? We will let you know when we will be feeding the homeless in our city. We need all the help we can get. So if you are able to volunteer to cook, help pass out food, pick up donations, etc. please do so. We will also be taking donations such as clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, toiletries, head wear, shoes, and other basic necessities. Its [sic] time for us to face homelessness in our city and do something about it.”

The mission statement for Urban Upreach, published on their Facebook page reads, “By providing resources and support to people experiencing homelessness, we will empower them to feel worthy of dignity and become more self-sufficient. We believe treating all people with kindness and respect is paramount to eradicating homelessness once and for all.”

Each of the organizers were asked the following questions in an email at 1:54 PM:

What are you hoping the City Council will do in response to your effort?

Did anyone in your coalition attend any of their recent budget sessions and ask the Council for funds for a shelter or warming/cooling center for homeless residents to be included in the budget?

How many members are there in the Antioch Homeless Advocacy Council? When was it formed?

Also, is Facing Homelessness the same organization that is based in Seattle? This last question was answered by a search on Facebook.

In addition, a phone call was made to Mahan looking for comment and for answers to the questions.

6:00 PM UPDATE: So far, Rickner has been the only one to respond, saying he doesn’t think anyone spoke during the council budget hearings, asking for money. He also said he didn’t know his organization’s name was going to be used on the flyer.

“I’m a homeless advocate and just like going out there and doing it,” he said. “I’m part of the city’s Homeless Task Force and I want to work with the city, not against them, and I don’t think getting at odds with them is effective, at all.”

“I’m rethinking participating with this event, the way they’re doing it,” Rickner added.

While neither Gardner nor Mahan responded to the email, phone call, they did post comments on the Herald Facebook page below the posting of the original article. Additional requests to them to respond to the questions were made by this writer in comments on Facebook. As of the update those attempts have been unsuccessful.

In addition to the email to the organizers, a separate email was sent to Mayor Sean Wright, Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts and Councilman Lamar Thorpe who serve on the city’s Homelessness Task Force, and City Manager Ron Bernal at 2:00 P.M. with the following request and questions:

Looking for any comments you might have about the event mentioned in the attached flyer.

Are you aware of the Antioch Homeless Advocacy Coalition, Facing Homelessness or Urban Upreach?

Other than Ken Rickner of Shower House Ministries, do you know or have you spoken to any of the organizers?

Have any of their representatives spoken at the task force meetings or during the recent budget hearings, to ask for funds [for] a shelter or warming/cooling center?

An auto-response email message was received from Bernal that he will be out of the office until Tuesday, July 9.

Motts responded by phone call while the writer of this article was unavailable. When reached for comment later, Motts said she will respond tomorrow, as she is out for the evening.

Please check back later for updates to this report.

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Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force to hold second of four hearings Monday

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Wants to hear from local, community-based organizations, residents, volunteers, non-profits and faith ministries about alleviating homeless encampments.

WHAT : As part of a four-part series of public testimony gatherings, the Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force will meet for a second time to gather public testimony specifically from community-based organizations, residents, volunteers, nonprofits and faith ministries who are currently assisting individuals experiencing homelessness.

This is a follow up to the May 30, 2019, public testimony hearing where the Task Force received testimony about the impacts of the growing homeless crisis including homeless encampments on city departments, county and regional agencies, and community-based organizations.

Part 2 of the series will be a roundtable discussion to elicit testimony about how to better align city services to alleviate homeless encampments on public and private properties including the consequences associated with encampments like the accumulation of rubbish, needles and human feces.

WHEN: June 10th, 2019, 6:00 pm

WHERE : Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch

LIMITED SEATING : RSVP here.

WHY : In March of 2019, Mayor Pro-Tem Joy Motts and Council Member Lamar Thorpe requested the establishment of a Homeless Encampment Task Force, which was unanimously approved by the Antioch City Council. The purpose of the Task Force is to study the growing homeless crisis in Antioch, the effects of homelessness including encampments on the community and temporary measures to alleviate homeless encampments until the completion of the Contra Costa County Care Center.

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Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force to gather public testimony beginning Thursday

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

About impact in city and to provide recommendations to city council

WHAT: As part of a four-part series of public testimony hearings, the Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force will gather public testimony from regional, county and city agencies, community-based organizations, homeless advocates and volunteers to build the committee’s knowledge base about the impacts of homeless encampments on communities and services. Additionally, the Task Force will examine current efforts that assist homeless residents in meeting basic needs, gain access to services programs and providers, as well as connected with temporary and/or permanent housing.

WHEN & WHERE: On March May 30th, 2019, Nick Rodriguez Center Center, 213 F Street, Antioch.

WHY: In March of 2019, Mayor Pro-Tem Joy Motts and Council Member Lamar Thorpe requested the establishment of a Homeless Encampment Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to study the growing homeless crisis in Antioch, the effects of homelessness including encampments on the community and temporary measures to alleviate homeless encampments until the completion of the Contra Costa County Care Center.

Task Force Members: Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts and Council Member Lamar Thorpe

Public Testimony Hearing 1 of 4 Agenda:

Opening Remarks, 8:45 am

Overview of Homelessness in Contra Costa County, 9:00 – 10:00 am

  1. Teri House, City Antioch CDBG/Housing Consultant
  2. LaVonna Martin, Contra Costa County Director, Health, Housing, & Homeless Services

Deep Dive-Contra Costa County/Regional Efforts , 10:15 – 11:15 am

  1. Michael Fisher, Manager, Contra Costa County Core Teams
  2. Armondo Sandoval, CIT Coordinator, BART
  3. Contra Costa County Fire (TBA)
  4. Robert Weston, Project Manager, CoCo Lead Plus, Health Right 360
  5. Steve Ponte, Chief Operating Officer, Tri-Delta Transit

Deep Dive-City of Antioch, 12:30 – 1:30 pm

  1. Tammany Brooks, Chief, Antioch Police Department
  2. Forrest Ebbs, Director, Antioch Community Development Department
  3. George Harding, Manager, Antioch Animal Services
  4. Jon Blanc, Director, Antioch Public Works Department

Meeting Basic Needs-Education, Medical Services, Housing 1:45 – 2:45 pm

  1. Lisa Perry, Homeless Liaison, Antioch Unified School District
  2. Valentino Walker, Sutter Health Rep
  3. T’Sendenia Gage, Program Coordinator, Student Success & Retention, Los Medanos College
  1. Anthony Aiello, Director, East Bay Men’s Recovery Center

Meeting Basic Needs-Food, Closing, Basic Necessities, 5:30-6:30 pm

  1. Ken Kickner, Shower House Ministries
  2. Joleen Lafayette, Executive Director, Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa
  3. Nicole Gardner, Executive Director, Facing Homelessness in Antioch
  4. Ashley Mahan, CEO, Urban Upreach, Inc

Overcoming Homelessness, 6:45 – 7:45 pm

  1. TBA
  2. TBA
  3. TBA
  4. TBA

Please note, each panel will be streamed LIVE on Facebook @lamar.a.thorpe and @joymotts2018. At the conclusion of the hearing, the videos will be made available on YouTube (searchable by panel heading). There will be a 30 day comment period following the live stream. All comments submitted in the comments section of the Facebook and YouTube posts will be reviewed and considered public testimony by the committee. *Following the May 30th public testimony meeting, the task force will meet again on June 10, 2019, to gather additional public testimony from residents. The time and location will be announced at a later time.

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New Grace Closet Food Pantry & Clothing Closet to hold Grand Opening in Antioch Sunday, March 10

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

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Contra Costa Health Services seeks volunteers for annual homeless count

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

WHAT: Contra Costa Health Services’ Division of Health, Housing and Homeless Services (H3) seeks volunteers for the county’s annual point-in-time count of residents who are experiencing homelessness.

Volunteers will work in groups at designated locations across the county to interview people and collect data.

WHO: Volunteers must be 18 or older. Spanish speakers are especially encouraged to volunteer.

WHEN: Each volunteer must attend a two-hour training during the week of January 21 and work a two- to three-hour shift during the week of January 28. Trainings and shifts are available across the county at a variety of times.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear warm clothing and comfortable footwear to their shifts and be prepared to stand for long periods.

WHY: Data collected during the count help H3 and its partners to improve services for Contra Costa’s homeless population and is used by federal, state and local government to determine funding for homeless services.

Visit cchealth.org/h3 for more information and to volunteer. For questions about volunteering, contact Georgia Lucey at georgia.lucey@cchealth.org or 925-608-6700.

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City of Antioch gives notice of abatement of homeless encampment on 6th Street

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

They must vacate the site before Monday, April 16

The City of Antioch has become aware of a substantial encampment on the private property near the intersection of 6th Street and McElheney Road in the area immediately east of downtown. As the City is obligated to enforce the Antioch Municipal Code and a series of State and federal regulations, an abatement process will commence in the coming days. The City of Antioch has secured an Abatement Warrant and will post a 72-hour notice no sooner than Thursday, April 12 that will direct the occupants of the encampment to vacate the site before Monday, April 16 when the abatement is expected to occur. The Abatement Warrant authorizes the City of Antioch to take all necessary measures to correct the violations and pursue compliance with all applicable laws.

Based on currently available information, the City of Antioch finds that the accumulation of garbage, human waste, hazardous materials, and similar conditions associated with this encampment violate local zoning laws that prohibit blight and preclude a tent encampment in this zoning district. Further, these conditions may violate regulations relating to the protection of local waterways, as the site is immediately adjacent to a flood control area that discharges to the San Joaquin River. As this is private property, the City will pursue reimbursement for the cost of the abatement from the property owner through its ordinary process.

As part of the abatement process, the City will coordinate its efforts with the Antioch Code Enforcement Division, the Antioch Police Department Community Engagement Team (CET), City of Antioch Animal Control, as well as the Contra Costa County Health Services Community Outreach Referral and Engagement (CORE) team and Contra Costa County Mental Health Services. The Antioch CET routinely works within the community to refer persons experiencing homelessness towards County or non-profit resources for assistance. The CORE team establishes relationships with clients through regular communication and visits to encampments and shelters and serves as a point of contact and referral for many social services. The Antioch Code Enforcement Division has also notified local outreach groups of the upcoming abatement but cannot confirm that any such groups will be actively involved with the abatement process. Any questions regarding this effort may be directed to Forrest Ebbs, Community Development Director, at febbs@ci.antioch.ca.us or Curt Michaels, Code Enforcement Manager, at cmichaels@ci.antioch.ca.us.

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County eyes MicroPAD miniature homes as new tool to reduce homelessness

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

A MicroPAD miniature home can be towed to its location. Photos from Panoramic Interests website.

By Daniel Borsuk

Perhaps by this time next year, Contra Costa County officials will be offering MicroPADs as a new alternate form of housing in its repertoire of programs designed to reduce homelessness, a major economic and social issue that is, at least in this East Bay county showing signs of fading away.

Rendering of a MicroPAD interior.

The number of homeless individuals in the county declined seven percent from 2016 to 1,607 homeless persons as of Jan. 25, 2017, an annual report stated and accepted by the supervisors on a 3-0 vote at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Board chair Federal Glover was absent due to a death in the family and Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood was absent because she was recovering from a surgical procedure.

The county’s success in decreasing the number of homeless individuals or families living outdoors or in cars can be credited to the county’s wide array of federal and state funded programs and services worth $15 million last year.  Those services range from emergency shelters, support services only, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, street outreach and preventive programs.

MicroPAD interior view.

Next month the county expects to learn how much money it will receive from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in its newest service designed to further drive down homelessness – the MicroPAD, said Lavonna Martin, Director of Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services.

The MicroPAD miniature, stackable home is a relatively new weapon in the fight against homelessness.  It is now in use in San Francisco, a city and county well known for its high cost of housing and homeless population problems.

Each 160-square foot modular prefabricated dwelling unit comes with a furnished bedroom, private bathroom, and kitchenette.  In Contra Costa, in order for a homeless individual to be eligible to occupy a MicroPAD he or she would have to pay 30 percent of their monthly income (i.e. SSI) towards rent, said Martin.

Contra Costa County could have as many as 50 MicroPADs available for eligible homeless persons.

Supervisors wanted to know if a site had been selected to place the MicroPADs, but the county homeless director said that a site has not been selected even though the county and City of Richmond were co-sponsoring a presentation at the same time the Board of Supervisors meeting was in session.  At the Richmond Civic Center presentation, a MicroPAD was on display for the public to see.  A similar MicroPAD presentation was conducted on Wednesday at the Richmond Civic Center.

Another interior view of a MicroPAD miniature home.

District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond was slated to appear at Tuesday’s civic center presentation following the board meeting.

“We do not have a site set yet,” Martin told supervisors.  “We’ll be working on that over the next few months.”

“It’s going to be challenging to find the right location,” acknowledged Gioia.  “The homeless will not get off the street if you offer them shelter, but this (i.e. MicroPADs) will get them off the street because it is housing.  The challenge will be finding an appropriate location.”

Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville was also supportive of the MicroPAD concept that the county is pursuing.  “What can we do to effect a positive situation?” she asked.  “I am excited about the MicroPAD program with its small units and the support services that will be available for occupants.”

To view a news report by KRON 4 TV news with video of a MicroPAD home, click here. To learn more about MicroPADs click here.

Supervisors Accept Winter Storm Preparedness Report

During the Tuesday meeting, Supervisors also approved a report that the county is prepared for whatever amount of rainfall this winter season will bring.  The report on Winter Storm Preparedness in Contra Costa County was presented by Tim Jensen of the Public Works Department.

The report highlighted Walnut Creek Intermediate School’s “Stay Out Stay Alive” publicity campaign to warn students and the public about the dangers of Walnut Creek especially when it is full of raging water during a major rain storm.  Two years ago, two persons died when they fell into the rain swollen creek that that bisects the school.

The report also informed the public about the county’s sand bag stations, media outreach, newsletter, and flood control district webpage – http://www.cccounty.us/5906FloodPreparedness

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