The warnings come as part of the city's "Transition Plan" to evict the longstanding encampments of several dozen people living in makeshift shelters and tents on the city-owned peninsula in order to realize the city's long-established policy of making the property part of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
Albany police issued similar curfew violation warnings on the evening of Oct. 9.
3 Bulb residents obtain housing, city announces
In related news, the city announced today, Thursday, that three residents from the Bulb have been placed in housing as result of the city's outreach efforts and community support.
"The City’s Outreach & Engagement to homeless results in housing three people from the Albany Bulb," says an announcement on the city website. "This success is the result of ongoing efforts by the City's service provider Berkeley Food and Housing Project, as well as strong community support from the Solano Community Church and the Albany Community Foundation."
"The Solano Community Church provided relocation assistance, helping the three people move their items from the Bulb to the rental," according to a city news release. "Additionally, the Albany Community Foundation provided $100 gift cards to each person to assist with the purchase of items for the new rental."
Content of the curfew notices
The warnings issued Wednesday night and in October cited a city law – Section 8-4.3 of the Municipal Code – saying, "No person shall use, remain in or enter upon any waterfront and Albany Hill area between 10:00 p.m. and 5:30 a.m."
The back side of the warnings issued Wednesday night included information about the services that the city is offering to help, including the temporary homeless shelter that the city opened next to the Bulb on Nov. 22, assistance through the Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP) in finding alternative housing, and rental subsidy funds available from the city. (Copies of both sides of the warning are attached to this article.)
Bulb resident Amber Whitson said her notice was delivered by three Albany police officers who came to her gate and called out her name.
"They were quite polite, and assured me that the bugs have been smoothed out of the process that people go through, when trying to check into the shelter," she said.
There have been complaints about people being turned away from the shelter, which was empty most nights during the first week after it opened. This past week, one person stayed each night from Saturday through Tuesday, and two people stayed Wednesday night, according to the city.
Question over eligibility for city housing subsidy
Whitson pointed to a problem she saw with the cash subsidy program described in the warning notices issued Wednesday night. The notice's section on the city's housing subsidy program says:
"BFHP is also identifying individuals interested in a housing subsidy program. The subsidy program is a collaborative and supportive approach to help connect people with housing. Under the subsidy, the City of Albany will cover a portion of the monthly rent, along with available grant funding, and a portion of the rent will be covered by the tenants."
Whitson said an earlier notice distributed by the city at the Bulb on Oct. 28 said those who wish to apply for the subsidy must have had a Housing Readiness Assessment on file with BFHP as of Oct. 7, meaning that it was already too late for those without the assessment on file to qualify by the time the notices were distributed.
City Manager Penelope Leach told Patch today, Thursday, that it's not too late for Bulb residents to apply for the subsidy. The wording on the earlier notice was intended to limit the subsidy to those who've been living on Bulb for some time, as opposed to newcomers who may have arrived since the city began offering special services, she said.
She said Bulb residents – or other homeless in Albany – are welcome to offer any kind of evidence to show they've been on the Bulb or homeless in the city since before Oct. 7. This could include their having been known to city officials, she said. They don't have to be on the BFHP Housing Readiness Assessment list as of Oct. 7, she said.
Leach noted, for example, the different ways that eligibility to use the shelter can be demonstrated. City Clerk Nicole Alamguer previously named the following ways that shelter-eligibility verification can be made:
1. Staff compiled a list of people living at the bulb. This list can be used to help verify when a person is indeed transitioning from the Bulb to the temporary shelter
2. The person can also allow Berkeley Food and Housing Project to verify that the person has been living at the Bulb
3. The person can show their previous campsite to city staff to verify they have been living at the Bulb
"We're open to listing anyone who wants help," Leach said.
The City Council approved $35,000 in funding for the subsidy program, which is intended to be used with BFHP subsidy funding from an Emergency Solutions Grant along with contributions from the tenants, Leach said.
Background on Albany Bulb issue
For background on the city's plan for the Albany Bulb and protests by opponents of the eviction, see our list of recent Patch articles and reader posts about the issue:
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