Berkeley Council Approves Innovative Plan to Address Homeless Crisis

(Berkeley) -- Last night, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to move forward on a bold plan to address the homeless crisis, creating a path towards permanent housing and services for the City’s approximately 1000 homeless individuals. The Pathways Project, introduced by Mayor Jesse Arreguín and Councilmember Hahn, and cosponsored by Councilmembers Linda Maio and Kriss Worthington, implements both interim and long term measures to address the homeless crisis in Berkeley, for the benefit of homeless individuals and to mitigate impacts on Berkeley’s streets, parks, commercial areas and neighborhoods.

Emergency measures include creation of a STAIR Center, modeled after San Francisco’s successful navigation centers, which will provide a period of respite from the streets, and will connect homeless individuals with housing, family reunification and services. A Bridge Living Community will also be established, similar to the STAIR Center, but designed as a communal village for extended stay.

The centerpiece of the Pathways Project is the 1000 Person Plan, which directs city staff to develop a comprehensive, innovative and meaningful plan to house and serve Berkeley’s 1000 homeless, building on existing structures and services and incorporating best practices, and to determine resources and funding that will be needed to realize the plan.

“Addressing homeless has been my biggest priority since day one of my administration” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “The Pathways Project will be a shining example of what we can achieve collectively to address major issues.”

"Homelessness is our home-grown refugee crisis, and we have a moral obligation to act," said Councilmember Hahn. The Pathways Project offers a comprehensive, compassionate set of solutions that provide immediate humanitarian relief - and create pathways towards permanent housing and services.”

The Pathways Project was also the first council-related topic to be debated on Berkeley Considers, a new online civic engagement tool that provides constituents a new opportunity to Jesse Arreguín Mayor provide input on Berkeley issues. Out of the fifty respondents – equivalent to 2.5 hours of public comment, a majority supported the proposal.

Mayor Arreguín has pledged to create a more open, publicly accessible government and improve government transparency. The Pathways Project now goes forward to city staff and the Ad-Hoc Committee on Homelessness (Consisting of Arreguin and councilmembers Hahn, Maio, and Cheryl Davila. The 1000 Person Plan will be solidified, including sources for funding, and presented to a vote of Council by the end of 2017.

Mayor Jesse Arreguín is available for interviews.

Jesse Arreguin