The plan also calls for using the reserve fund to pay for $171,465 in Bulb clean-up costs and $2,890 for up to 120 days of storage of the belongings of the displaced Bulb dwellers.
The total cost would be $505,280, according to a city staff report prepared for the upcoming City Council meeting on Monday.
The cost could increase if the Council decides to fund additional items, including $30,000 for shower facilities and $35,000 for rental assistance for Bulb residents. Another $7,000-$19,000 might be needed for a truck to deliver food to the shelter.
At the same time, the city could recoup an estimated $50,000 by reselling the shelter trailers and generators after the shelter closes, the staff report says.
An estimated 50-60 or so people live in the longstanding collection of tents and makeshift dwellings on the city-owned Bulb. A long-established goal of the city government, along with conservation groups, has been to remove the Bulb encampments so that it can become part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
The City Council asked police to enforce the no-camping law at the Bulb beginning this month, and city-sponsored efforts have been underway to assist Bulb residents in obtaining social services and alternative housing.
Opponents of the city plan have staged several protests, saying the Bulb residents need more time and that the assistance efforts have been inadequate.
Alternative to the temporary shelter
The staff report to the council acknowledges a proposed alternative to the temporary shelter plan. The alternative calls for allowing Bulb residents to remain for six more months with a "hard and fast" agreement by them to leave at the end of that time. The alternative calls for using the money that would be spent for a shelter for direct housing assistance instead.
The last time the city cleared the Bulb of homeless encampments and set up a temporary shelter in trailers, in 1999, was a failure and waste of money, according to a letter outlining the alternative proposal. The letter, included in the council agenda packet, says it represents a number of Bulb residents and Albany Housing Advocates, one of the plaintiffs who sued the city on Oct. 2, alleging that a city failure to meet state affordable-housing requirements causes homelessness in the city, including at Albany Bulb.
The letter says the displaced Bulb residents in 1999 avoided the shelter operated by Operation Dignity and that the circumstances of current Bulb dwellers – including many with mental health issues and histories of trauma – mean that the "dormitory-style" trailers now being proposed by the city also would fail.
The city's current plan would hire Operation Dignity again – for $154,000 of the total $330,925 shelter cost – to operate the shelter, which would consist of two portables or trailers that would have 15 two-bunk beds.
The shelter would offer breakfast and dinner and be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. The plan also includes kennel space for dogs.
Advance notices for removing the Bulb camps
One of the documents in the council packet describes the city's advance-notice policy for removing the illegal structures and other items from the city Waterfront, including the Bulb.
About 14 days before a clean‐up, "the City shall make reasonable efforts to provide informal notice to the inhabitants of an encampment through face‐to‐face communications and distribution of informational flyers as deemed appropriate," the policy says.
At least 7 days before a clean‐up begins, "the City shall seek to provide a written notice of the intended clean‐up by posting and/or distributing a written notice," according to the policy. The city will attempt to provide another such notice 72 hours before undertaking a clean-up, the policy says.
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.
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