Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Doubles Shelters for Oakland’s Homeless

Posted on May 2, 2018 in Committee Briefings | 0 comments

Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center has doubled its financial commitment to provide temporary housing to help the City of Oakland move homeless people from encampments into temporary shelters.

Alta Bates Summit CEO Chuck Prosper committed initial funding in December to purchase and deliver 20 “Tuff Shed” portable structures to shelter 40 people at Oakland’s first temporary “Safe Haven” shelter site for homeless individuals.

Impressed by the effort – a collaborative effort between the medical center, City of Oakland and Oakland Chamber of Commerce – a generous community donor has now offered to partner with Alta Bates Summit to help fund a second temporary shelter site, with 20 more units.

“We would certainly prefer people have permanent, safe, affordable housing,” Prosper says. “Homelessness here is now a public health issue, yet we must respond with compassion and respect in a way that helps people get back on their feet and lead healthier lives again.”

The initial Safe Haven pilot site opened in December on land donated by PG&E in West Oakland and met with early success: in less than three months 44 people from a nearby encampment moved onto the site, eight then moved from the site and into transitional or permanent housing, and 15 more had job interviews.

“Under Chuck Prosper’s leadership, Sutter Health has strongly stepped forward to support Oakland’s temporary homeless navigation centers by funding short-term housing and support services for our most vulnerable residents while the City and community seek long-term housing solutions,” says Barbara Leslie, President and CEO of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. “The leadership shown by Chuck and Sutter, along with many members of Oakland’s business community, is a testament to their true commitment to the health and well-being of all Oaklanders.”

The second site – expected to open in late April – will be on property donated by the California Department of Transportation at 27th Street and Northgate Avenue, near one of the city’s largest homeless encampments. Both Safe Haven sites provide shelter to Oakland’s long-term homeless population with social services connecting clients to health services, public benefits and other resources.

The City of Oakland coordinates with volunteer, non-profit groups and private partners to staff and provide services at the designated navigation center locations. The locations are just one venue Oakland is trying to help slow the pace of homelessness. These venues are intended to be short term, emergency solution that helps residents establish stability and seek permanent affordable housing.

“We are making some progress, in small steps,” Prosper says, “and I commend Oakland’s leadership for trying any feasible idea that provides safe and secure shelter to people.”

Stacey Wells

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