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On October 28, 2018, the City of Richmond declared a shelter crisis, finding that the health and safety of unhoused people is threatened by a lack of shelter. According to the Contra Costa County Homeless Continuum of Care 2018 Annual Report, that year, 1,119 persons lost their housing in the City of Richmond and 333 unsheltered people slept and lived in Richmond after becoming homeless.
The Contra Costa County Homeless Continuum of Care 2018 Annual Report compiles data from the Point in Time Count (PIT), Service data from Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and consumer surveys and interviews. However, getting an accurate count of the homeless population is challenging because of the mobility of the population, the cyclical nature of homelessness, and the barriers to interviewing the homeless population.
We often get the question, “What is the City doing to combat homelessness?”
In general, the city can impact homelessness in several ways:
1. Set policies that encourage the development of affordable and low income housing;
2. Set policies to prevent residents from going into homelessness;
3. Collaborate with the Contra Costa Counties Continuum of Care (COC) to advocate, partner, support and expand resources for the unhoused in Richmond.
4. Enact policies and programs that address homelessness.
Additionally, the City of Richmond declared a shelter crisis on October 28, 2018 finding that the health and safety of unhoused people is threatened by a lack of shelter and the City passed a resolution declaring homelessness a public health emergency. These two resolutions allow the City an expanded range of options when looking towards both long term and temporary solutions for homelessness. The City of Richmond does not have a Health and Human Services department, but the City contracts with Contra Costa County Department of Health, Housing and Human Services (H3) to provide a Coordinated Outreach Referral Engagement (C.O.R.E) team to connect unsheltered people to the County’s Continuum of Care, the range of services provided to help people stay housed and access housing and services.
The City of Richmond, like many cities, is experiencing the impacts of rising levels of homelessness. Many of these individuals lack the transportation, resources, and ability to access traditional services within the coordinated system of care. To improve access to services, Contra Costa County established a Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement Team (C.O.R.E). C.O.R.E assists the unsheltered with obtaining short term and long term housing, transportation, mental health referrals, food and health care.
In 2019 the City of Richmond partnered with the San Pablo Police Department and initiated a C.O.R.E Homeless Outreach Engagement Team dedicated to the Richmond/San Pablo area. The C.O.R.E team is part of a comprehensive strategy to focus on homelessness. C.O.R.E provides routine intervention services for the homeless population to include housing assistance, shelter placement, mental health wrap around services and health care. CORE is set up to work with city staff to provide outreach services to local encampments. The City of San Pablo provides cost sharing benefits and joint planning in this effort. A similar effort was spearheaded by Martinez and Pleasant Hill.
The benefits of a comprehensive strategy to focus on homelessness include:
• Identifying homeless individuals and gathering data about their specific problems (mental health issues, drug or alcohol dependencies, poverty, etc.). The outreach liaison can make referrals specific to these underlying problems.
• Identifying whether any homeless individuals have family members that can assist in supporting them.
• Engaging the unhoused and connecting them with housing, medical, economic, and mental health services.
• Building trust between the outreach liaison, city departments, and the homeless community in order to find solutions that do not solely focus on enforcement.
• Providing ongoing support to the chronically homeless.
C.O.R.E can be contacted by calling 211. Call 211 and speak with a dispatcher or leave a message regarding the individual who may need help, their location, and a call back number.
Currently, due to the pandemic, the CORE team is part of the essential outreach response to prevent the spread of coronavirus among the unhoused community. Initially C.O.R.E placed the most vulnerable populations into the Project Roomkey Hotels. Due to the impact of COVID-19, CORE has temporarily suspended its transportation services for the unhoused.
C.O.R.E teams are not designed for emergency response. For medical or other emergencies, dial 911.
If you have more questions about C.O.R.E functions, please contact or Captain Walle at email@example.com. If you have questions about the C.O.R.E contract, or the Homeless Taskforce, contact Crime Prevention Manager Michelle Milam at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call 211 or Text “HOPE” to 20121 to get the County’s services. There is free confidential service available 24/7. Callers will be matched and referred to appropriate programs for:
a. Basic needs services (meals, bathrooms, mail, laundry)
b. Lunch served bagged, to-go (2 to-go meals per person per day, 7 days/week)
c. Non-emergency medical attention
d. Mental health support
e. General help
f. Case management, Monday to Friday, from 9 am-3 pm
Please note C.O.R.E teams are not designed for emergency response. For medical or other emergencies, dial 911.
Call 211 to be connected to the County’s services. Please note C.O.R.E teams are not designed for emergency response. For medical or other emergencies, dial 911.
The Richmond Rent Board has published a list of non-profit resources that provide financial assistance to help people maintain their housing. Please see page 3 and 4 for a list of these non-profits (http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/41438/Updated-Landlord-and-Tenant-Resources-Directory-4-20-18?bidId=)
In 2017, the City Council established a homeless taskforce. A series of nine policy findings were established by a collaborative team of city, community members, non-profits, and the county to provide direction to Richmond on how to impact homelessness. These policy findings are utilized to develop an annual list of priorities for the City of Richmond. The homeless taskforce is open to the public and meets on the last Thursday of every month. During the pandemic the taskforce meets at 1:00 pm on Zoom. To be added to the contact list please email Taskforce coordinator Michelle Milam at email@example.com
• C.O.R.E Homeless Outreach Partnership with San Pablo – Richmond currently has expanded homeless outreach services to the unhoused community. In 2018 the city enacted a partnership with San Pablo, Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services, to provide resource navigation and outreach to those experiencing homelessness. Services include intake, housing and shelter placement, health care referrals, mental health referrals, and during the pandemic assistance on COVID-19 testing in partnership with local healthcare providers.
• The City Council voted to establish a pilot interim sheltering project and directed the Planning department conducted an eight-month survey to study best practices on develop a Safe Parking Program. The City Council allocated $300K in lieu fees to launch the project, and is currently working to identify an appropriate site.
• The City has developed a partnership with the SOS (Safe Organized Spaces) Team. SOS is currently spearheading a Richmond Streets Team. The Streets Team employs unsheltered individuals to respond to homelessness and neighborhood streets impacted by dumping and encampments throughout Richmond. The team conducts neighborhood outreach with debris removal, sanitation and hygiene interventions, and community-building processes that lead to improved encampment conditions where unsheltered individuals reside and are supported to shelter-in-place.
According to Contra Costa Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) 2018 Annual Report:
• An average of 2,450 people were served each month.
• 58% of persons served in temporary and rapid rehousing exited to permanent housing.
• There was a 32% increase in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding provided over three years.
• 97% retention rate in Permanent Supportive Housing programs
• 58% of CORE outreach consumers had a positive outcome (entered shelter, warming center and/or SUD treatment)
Richmond like many smaller cities has to work within the County network to access state and federal funding for homeless services and projects. Large cities like Oakland and San Francisco receive a percentage of state and federal funding directly paid to those cities to provide services and housing to mitigate homelessness. These are largely demined by formula based on population.
In Richmond, our work has to collaborate with other entities, primarily the County to help increase and improve services for homeless individuals.
During the pandemic, the city will not be abating or moving homeless encampments with the exception of immediate health, safety and fire concerns. The City has made some provisions to increase access to hygiene facilities.
Portable Hand washing Units for the Unhoused
The City of Richmond received 6 temporary portable restroom and hand washing facilities throughout the city to promote the public health for the homeless community. The locations are as follows:
• Rydin Road (north of Central Avenue)
• Civic Center-Main Library & Auditorium
• GRIP - 165 22nd Street
• San Pablo Ave & Richmond Greenway
COVID-19 Emergency Housing For Unsheltered Community
In March the governor’s office announced that it would be providing support to local communities to help provide emergency housing for the homeless population. The purpose of the effort is to limit the exposure of the unsheltered community to COVID-19, particularly seniors and those with pre-existing conditions. Contra Costa County received the emergency funding from the state. Funding is limited and cannot house every person impacted.
In compliance with health officers recommendation to empty the shelters and congregate living facilities there have been two facilities identified in the City of Richmond by Contra Costa County Health, Housing and Homeless Services. The identified locations are the Courtyard, by Marriott, and the Sure Stay by Best Western.
The Marriott location will house clients from the Bay Area Rescue mission residents, some from Brookside Shelter and some from GRIP’s warming center. Individuals and families who will be occupying these rooms are from west county and considered high risk based on their age or health condition. GRIP will be the on-site provider and food vendor. The clients are not those who have tested positive for COVID-19. The county is providing testing to those in congregate living facilities.
For more information, visit Contra Costa Health Services’ website.
Additional Local Homelessness Resources
• Unsheltered individuals are currently exempt from the shelter in place order.
• View CCHS’ Coronavirus and Homelessness Frequently Asked Questions
• Healthcare for the Homeless
• CCHS Guidance for Those at High Risk
• Link to CC Health, Housing, and Homeless Services
• Supervisor John Gioia’s Food Distribution Site Map for Contra Costa County
• Help for the Unhoused
• Download PDF summary of resources
Local Rental and Eviction Resources
• City of Richmond Issues Supplemental Order Prohibiting Rent Increases and/or Evictions for Residential and Commercial Rental Units: The Director of Emergency Services issued a Supplemental Order, effective April 27, 2020, which extends the prohibition on certain types of evictions to commercial tenants and also prohibits rent increases on residential properties with more than one dwelling unit that were constructed before February 1, 1995 (including LIHTC properties) through May 31, 2020, or any extension of the local emergency
• Revised Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Rentals: What Richmond Tenants and Landlords Need to Know Fact Sheet (English & Spanish)
• Access the Letter Template for Tenants to Inform Landlords of Their Inability to Pay Rent Due to the Financial Impacts of COVID-19: English | Spanish
• If you have any questions about the Supplemental Order, please contact the Rent Program at 510-234-RENT(7368) or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a Housing Counselor. For updates, visit their website
State of California’s Housing and Homeless Information
• Under the Governor’s Executive Order, through May 31, 2020, evictions related to non-payment of rent for COVID-19-related economic hardships have been halted. If you are financially impacted by COVID-19 and can’t pay your full rent, make sure to let your landlord know in writing no later than seven days after the rent is due, and save documentation as proof. Learn of other financial assistance.
• Many utility providers are not shutting off services due to non-payment. Check with the California Public Utilities Commission for more information.
• The Governor has also reached an agreement with financial institutions to give relief to people who can’t pay their mortgages as a result of COVID-19. California is placing a moratorium on foreclosure sales or evictions for 60 days.
• California Awards $100 Million to Cities, Counties and Continuums of Care to Help People Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19 Pandemic
• Funding Formula Breakdown
• View more at https://covid19.ca.gov/housing-and-homelessness/