Fremont City
California

Staff Report
3713

SHELTER CRISIS RESOLUTION - Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Implement the City's Housing Navigation Center for the Homeless and Take Immediate and Emergency Actions Pursuant to the Council's Shelter Crisis Declaration

Information

Department:Human Services DepartmentSponsors:
Category:Code Adoptions & Amendments

Item Discussion

Executive Summary: Staff requests that the City Council adopt this Resolution to authorize the City Manager to implement the City’s Housing Navigation Center (HNC) and take immediate and emergency actions pursuant to the Council’s Shelter Crisis Declaration and this Resolution, including 1) issuing public works contracts for site preparation and building procurement, 2) selecting a Service Provider to operate the HNC after a Request for Information or a similar streamlined selection process has been submitted and reviewed; and 3) bring back to Council a request for approval of the project, site selection and budget for both capital and operating costs.

Body

BACKGROUND: The City of Fremont is experiencing a homeless shelter emergency. According to the 2017 EveryOne Home point-in-time count and survey, there are 479 homeless individuals living in Fremont as of January 30, 2017, of whom 282 (59%) are unsheltered. It is anticipated that this number will significantly grow with the 2019 point-in-time count. Unsheltered individuals are at risk due to exposure to the elements and lack of security from crime. There is only one 66-bed homeless shelter located in Fremont for singles and families, leaving a huge demand for shelter for the homeless.

 

In order to address some of the shelter crisis, the City operated a Winter Shelter that was open every night from November 2018 to March 2019. The Shelter served 438 unique individuals, which included a hot meal, breakfast and overnight stay. The Winter Shelter officially closed on March 21, 2019.

 

The California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council administers the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), which is a $500 million block grant program designed to provide direct assistance to cities and counties to address the homelessness crisis throughout California. HEAP is authorized by Senate Bill (SB) 850, which was signed into law by Governor Brown in June 2018. 

 

As required by the State to receive HEAP funding, the City Council adopted Resolution 2018-60 declaring a shelter crisis pursuant to SB 850 and Government Code section 8698. The declaration of the shelter crisis is in effect until September 30, 2024. Resolution 2018-60 also included local minimum building and life safety standards. 

 

In December 2018, Alameda County recommended specific HEAP funding allocations to the State for the cities within its jurisdictions, including $2,078,880 million for Fremont. The State has approved Alameda County’s recommendation of HEAP funding to Fremont. The HEAP contracts to cities were approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on March 26, 2019 with a retroactive start date of February 22, 2019. HEAP requires cities to contractually obligate 50 percent of the funds by January 1, 2020 and completely expend the funds by June 30, 2021.

 

In light of the homeless shelter crisis being faced by Fremont and HEAP’s timeliness requirements, City staff is recommending implementing as swiftly as possible a HCN in Fremont to address the needs of unsheltered homeless individuals.

 

DISCUSSION/ANALYSIS: City staff is proposing to utilize HEAP funding to establish a HNC in Fremont.  The HCN will be modeled after the City of Berkeley STAIR Center, which provides temporary shelter, intensive case management, and housing placement services. The Berkeley STAIR Center has placed 57 individuals in permanent housing since opening in June 2018. The proposed HNC will include three main components:

 

  1. Targeted Outreach: outreach workers will target homeless individuals in Fremont.
  2. Short-Term Housing Shelter: a short-term housing shelter for approximately 40-45 individuals located at the site, for up to 6 months which includes:
    1. 40-45 beds in ADA-accessible modular units for individuals to stay for up to 6 months
    2. Facilities including on-site showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities, and storage containers
    3. One meal a day for all residents; and
    4. 24 hour resident access and onsite management staff
  3. Housing Placement and Case Management: intensive case management and housing placement services for individuals at the shelter, including:
    1. case managers/housing placement specialists providing services during an individual’s stay at the shelter and for a period after housing placement; and
    2. flexible funds, including funds for first and last month’s rent, and as needed temporary monthly housing subsidies on a time limited basis.

 

City staff is recommending that the Council adopt this resolution to authorize the City Manager to take immediate and emergency actions to implement a HNC, including 1) approving contracts for site preparation and building procurement for the HNC above his existing signing authority but within the overall budget for the center and, as allowed by law and pursuant to the City’s police powers, 2) consistent with law, approve the suspension of land use and zoning regulations (not health and safety regulations), as appropriate, and modify and/or waive bid and purchasing requirements necessary to expedite the implementation of the HNC, and 3) select a Service Provider to operate the HNC after responses to a Request for Information or a similar streamlined selection process have been submitted and reviewed; and 4) bring back to Council for approval the final proposed HNC project, site selection and budget for both capital and operating costs.

 

This is similar to the City of Berkeley and Hayward’s approach to implementing their HNC. These emergency action items will allow staff to implement the HNC swiftly and to begin providing much-needed shelter to Fremont homeless as quickly as possible.

 

FISCAL IMPACT: None at this time. However, final site selection and budget approval for the capital development and operation of the Housing Navigation Center will be subject to Council approval.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:  Environmental review would be speculative since the HNC is still not a specific proposal since the size, location, scope and other circumstances that could be expected to have a significant environmental effect are unknown.  Accordingly, the adoption of this resolution is exempt from review under CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(b)(3), in that the resolution is not a project with a potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. 

Document Comments

RECOMMENDATION: City staff is recommending that the City Council adopt this Resolution to authorize the City Manager to:

 

1.              Take immediate and emergency actions to implement a Housing Navigation Center.  These emergency actions would include authority to enter into contracts (for site preparation and building procurement) solely for the HNC above his existing signing authority, but within the overall budget for the center and, as allowed by law and pursuant to the City’s police powers, approve the suspension of land use and zoning regulations (not health and safety regulations), as appropriate, and modify and/or waive bid and purchasing requirements for the HNC to expedite the implementation of the HNC;

2.              Select a Service Provider to operate the HNC after responses to a Request for Information or a similar streamlined selection process have been reviewed; and

3.              Bring back to Council for approval the final proposed project, site selection and budget for both capital and operating costs of the HNC.