Berkeley Council Approves Assistance to RV Dwellers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2019
(Berkeley, CA) – The Berkeley City Council voted last night to provide resources to RV inhabitants before any enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting the overnight parking of RVs takes effect. In a 6-3 vote of the proposal introduced by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmembers Rashi Kesarwani and Sophie Hahn, Council also directed the City Manager to create a permitting system to be offered to priority populations. This came after 4 hours of discussion including 92 public speakers.
An initial period of outreach will take place in which those residing in RVs will be given access to the following resources:
Housing problem solving assistance
Possible funding for RV repair and
Referrals to additional housing and homeless resources, health, mental health or addiction services, or other appropriate services.
A permitting process will be created in which priority populations will be offered a three month permit, with the possibility of renewal. Criteria for defining a priority population will be created based off of Alameda County’s homeless coordinated entry system (including health status, disability and self-care needs, age, and children), in addition to people who have had a Berkeley address anytime over the past ten years.
The City of Berkeley is also exploring a potential partnership with the Berkeley Unified School District to help fund secure parking for families of BUSD children living in RVs. Additionally, the City has been exploring regional solutions to the issue of RV parking.
“We have a moral obligation to provide compassionate assistance to our most vulnerable residents”, said Mayor Arreguin”. By reaching out and connecting people with services, we can help lift them up and give them a second chance”.
The City of Berkeley has received over $4 million in Housing Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funding from the State, of which Council voted on March 12th to allocate $50,000 to provide outreach to RVs. Additional resources may be added as part of the FY20-21 budget process. The City is currently spending $13.5 million this year on homeless services, including shelters that provide 300 beds a night, outreach teams to connect people to housing and related services, mental health, sanitation, and the successful Pathways Program, which provides 45 beds at the STAIR Center, providing on-site access to intensive case management and rapid rehousing subsidies. Several affordable housing projects have also recently been approved including Berkeley Way, a 142 unit complex with homeless services that also includes 44 beds for homeless individuals and veterans.