According to a homeless count done in January 2017, an estimated 1,000 people, or 1 percent of the city’s entire population, are homeless. Since Mayor Arreguin's election in November, the city has taken bold steps to address this crisis.
Within weeks of taking office, the Mayor worked with several other councilmembers to activate the regional Emergency Operations Center to address the winter shelter crisis.
The city was able to immediately double the number of shelter beds and warming centers available, providing life-saving shelter to hundreds of homeless individuals. The Mayor's office is now working to create a year-round short-term shelter, while developing measures to help people successfully transition to living on their own.
The Pathways Project
Central to the Mayor's plan for combating homelessness is The Pathways Project, which includes both short and long term measures to help shelter our growing homeless population, and restore Berkeley’s streets, parks and neighborhoods to their intended use.
Under the plan, the city will open a low-barrier short-term shelter in spring 2018, which will allow the homeless to bring their partners, pets, and personal belongings with them. The center will also work to connect the homeless to permanent housing, reunify them with their families, and eventually transition to a communal village providing long-term housing and support.
IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF SHELTER OR FOOD, YOU CAN GET HELP AT ONE OF OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS.
The Homeless Outreach and Treatment Team (HOTT)
In June 2017, the city launched the Homeless Outreach and Treatment Team to target the two-pronged problem of mental health and homelessness.
This program, staffed by trained outreach workers, will contact homeless people with serious mental health issues and help them access crucial services with the hope of transitioning to permanent housing.
Clients will be selected based on a number of factors such as living with mental illness, suffering from addiction, frequent use of emergency rooms and problematic street behavior. The team will work together with The Hub, the city’s coordinated point of entry for housing and homeless services.
Berkeley Way Project
When completed, the project will consist of 142 permanent affordable housing units, along with emergency shelter and transitional housing for homeless veterans. This is the largest investment into housing the homeless and the working poor the city has ever made.
To make this project a reality, the Mayor and other councilmembers are working to leverage the city’s investment to obtain $17 million in state funds through the California Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program.