Bulb resident Amber Whitson reported in a Patch blog post Wednesday that city notices were posted Tuesday on two of the makeshift dwellings on the Bulb, warning that the city will begin enforcing the ban on temporary shelters and conducting a clean-up of the Bulb "at any time" following 72 hours from the date of the notice.
Whitson posted a photo of one of the notices (attached to this article), which is dated Oct. 22.
One notice was posted on a treehouse dwelling and the other on what's called "the Teepee," both of whose residents are away tending to family matters, Whitson said.
The notices are from the City of Albany, but the two structures on which they were placed sit on East Bay Regional Park District property, Whitson said.
Part of the Bulb is owned by the city and part is owned by the state and managed by the East Bay Regional Park District, according to the city.
On Monday night, Oct. 21, the City Council approved a $570,000 plan to place a temporary housing shelter next to the Bulb and hire a firm to clean up campsite remains, trash and waste. The council action did not specify when the shelter would be ready or the clean-up conducted.
Patch has asked the city administration when it hopes to open the shelter, when it intends to begin enforcing the ban on shelters and camping, and when it plans to conduct the clean-up.
In a series of votes taken since June, the Council has decided to evict the estimated 50-60 or so people living illegally on the Bulb in line with the city's longstanding goal of making the property part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. The Council also asked the police department to begin enforcing the city's no camping ordinance at the Bulb beginning this month.
At the same time, the city has been working with the Berkeley Food and Housing Project in an attempt to provide assistance to Bulb residents in obtaining alternative housing and social services.
Several Bulb dwellers and a number of supporters, including sympathetic organizations and lawyers, have organized to oppose the city plan and staged several protests.
City Outlines Next Steps
Also on Wednesday, the city issued a press release outlining its "Waterfront Transition Plan," which includes the temporary shelter and $35,000 in housing subsidies to help the homeless pay for housing. The city notice also identified ways that members of the community can help.
Here is the text of the press release:
City Council Adopts the Albany Waterfront Park Transition Plan – “ACT”
October 23, 2013
The Albany City Council is moving forward with a comprehensive plan to transition the
Albany Waterfront Park. On October 22, 2013 the City Council voted unanimously to
adopt the Albany Waterfront Park Transition Plan “ACT”.
“ACT” includes three major elements:
- Assistance to Homeless including housing-centered outreach, transitional services, support, and shelter
- Cleanup and Maintenance of the Bulb
- Transfer of the Bulb to McLaughlin Eastshore State Park
As part of the action, the Council expanded the housing-centered services that will be made available including $30,000 for shower facilities as part of the transitional shelter and $35,000 for rental housing subsidies. The Council also authorized the City Manager to enter into lease agreements for the subsidized housing to help ensure the City’s ability to promptly secure an agreement when available housing locations are identified.
The subsidy program is a collaborative and supportive approach to help connect people to housing. The City will cover a portion of the monthly rent, along with available grant funding, with a portion of the rent covered by the tenants.
“ACT” in Progress
City staff is now in process of implementing “ACT”:
- Securing temporary shelter facilities, showers, and associated materials
- Locating storage containers and layout for the containers
- Agreements with service organizations to provide ongoing homeless assistance, and to assist with staffing the temporary shelter
- Agreements with cleanup contractors to provide cleanup services at the Bulb including removal of biohazard waste such as fecal matter and used needles
- Searching for available rental housing, and interested tenants, for the housing subsidy program in coordination with the City’s consultant Berkeley Food and Housing Project
How can people help?
- Albany Community Foundation, http://albanycommunityfoundation.org/, is currently acceptingcash donations: mail your donation to ACF, 1164 Solano Ave #133 Albany CA 94706
- Albany Landlords: the City is searching for landlords willing to rent available units as part of the City’s housing subsidy program. If you own rental property and would like to participate in the City of Albany Housing Subsidy program, please contact: Jo Ferlatte (510) 684-0540.
Background on the Albany Bulb issuesMore information can be found in the many recent news articles and community blog and board posts about the Albany Bulb. Click here for a list of titles and links.
Posted Oct. 24, 2013, 1:38 a.m., updated 11:44 a.m.