Antioch Council to discuss possible Bridge Housing Program using local motel

Source: City of Antioch

Program would be part of City’s strategy to transition unhoused community; might include use of five FEMA trailers at an estimated annual cost range of $450,000 to $858,000 for staff and operating costs, does not include cost for leasing motel

By Rolando A. Bonilla, Public Information Officer, City of Antioch

Tonight, as part of the update by city staff on Unhoused Strategies for the City of Antioch the City Council will explore the possibility of implementing a Bridge Housing Program for the City of Antioch. (See staff and consultants’ report here: Unhoused Strategies for Antioch report)

In October of 2018, the City of Antioch was forced to declare a shelter crisis due to the fact that there were no shelter beds available to meet the demand for the city’s unhoused community. From that point, through a series of task forces and ad hoc committees, the city council began the process of developing its policy framework with short- and long-term strategies to support Antioch’s unhoused community, including approving spending $517,000 in one-time funds. To date most of those funds have not been spent. The remainder could be used to help fund the program.

According to the staff report on the agenda item, last year the council approved hiring consultant Focus Strategies who conducted a Motel Housing Program Feasibility Study “looking at temporary program program options that could be operated out of a motel site.” Estimated costs of the program range from $450,000 to $858,000 depending on which option the council chooses.

The report also states, “The planned project will obligate the City to an annual expenditure of between $450,000 and $858,000 for the services and program operating costs excluding the costs of master leasing.”

An email was sent to City Manager Ron Bernal and all five council members asking how much the cost will be for the master leasing of the motel, in other words the cost for renting the 30 rooms from the motel owner.

“There needs to be a strategy that will lead people to permanent housing,” the report also reads.

“As a community, Bridge Housing is the answer we need to solve the chronic issue of unhoused members of our community living on Antioch streets,” said Mayor Lamar Thorpe. “There is nothing more basic and fundamental than the dignity of a place to call home. Through Bridge Housing, we will be able to help our most vulnerable while also strengthening our city as a whole.”

If the council directs staff to further pursue a Bridge Housing Program, Antioch will formally move towards a model that integrates housing and robust supportive services that ensures all residents have access to the assistance they need to navigate into permanent housing.

“As a city, the needs of unhoused residents challenge us on a daily basis.  Contra Costa County is a large geographical area and Antioch is one of 19 cities competing for the County’s regional resources.  A local framework enables us to take direct action and best position Antioch to reduce the number of unhoused residents living in encampments,” said City Manager Ron Bernal. “This kind of approach will improve the quality of life for the entire community.”

According to a recent study, in 2020, the City of Antioch identified 238 individuals as unhoused with half being identified as Antioch natives. Council action to proceed would provide a green light to solicit bids for support services and formally launch grant seeking efforts.  Grant opportunities may encompass support services, housing costs and any capital needs to establish the program, in addition to other strategies identified in the City framework.

Allen Payton contributed to this report. Please check back later for any updates.

the attachments to this post:

Unhoused Strategies for Antioch report

Motel program cost estimates

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