The 2019 homeless count revealed 1,108 homeless residents in Berkeley. First time homelessness is down by 36%, and the number of people living on the streets with zero shelter is down by 32%. These numbers show that our investment to end homelessness over the past two years is beginning to make a difference for those living on our streets.
We asked the people of Berkeley to give big, and you responded generously. The approval of Measures O & P has given us a unique opportunity to make an impact in creating affordable housing and reducing homelessness. Berkeley voters can be proud that their vote is making a difference.
We know 2019 will likely be another significant fire season in California. That is why we are making our biggest investment ever in wildfire safety. This includes hundreds of thousands of dollars towards vegetation management and emergency response training. Taking the necessary steps to prepare is essential in promoting your safety.
Berkeley has a long tradition of thinking globally and acting locally. My State of the City Address highlights the history of our community’s engagement and activism, and how we can harness our collective ideas to build our future together.
History has shown that people look to Berkeley for leadership. Ideas start here and movements are born here. Consistent with our status as a trailblazing leader, the important step of prohibiting natural gas in new construction will send a message and a model to cities and states across the country to follow our lead.
Berkeley is a proud Sanctuary City with a legacy of protecting the most vulnerable members of our society. We continue to affirm the belief that all families should feel safe and welcome in our community. Our diversity and inclusiveness gives us strength.
We must make sure that the Marina is a place that our community can enjoy for generations to come. With the investments we are placing now, by upgrading existing infrastructure and building a new pier and ferry service, we can turn the tide on its deterioration and convert the Marina into a world-class destination that we can all be proud of.
Our City Budget is a reflection of our values and priorities. That is why over the past few months while developing my proposed Budget Recommendations, I have been listening to the needs and concerns of our community. From addressing our housing and homeless crisis, to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, we are making a bigger investment in our community than ever before.
By working towards a more open, transparent and efficient government, the Berkeley City Council recently adopted a new committee system. This enables us to take a deeper dive on major public policy issues and provides another opportunity for the public to get engaged in the legislative process.
With the passage of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act in 1995, rents began to rise dramatically in Berkeley and neighboring communities as landlords were given the right to set new tenancies at full market rate. The City has taken multiple steps to address the growing problem of displacement, from the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to the Tenant Protection Ordinance.