Homelessness, Housing, and Street Behavior

Early in my career, I worked for a homeless nonprofit agency where I assisted homeless individuals trying to reenter the workforce and attend school. I believe that we have an obligation to help homeless people get back on their feet by providing opportunities for housing and work. We also need to provide mental health services to those who need support. 

We must keep our shelters and services running, and we must provide pathways to housing. At the same time, I recognize that Berkeley invests significant dollars into homeless services, and we need to make sure we spend those dollars effectively. We also need to support our local businesses and residents who feel the impacts of anti-social street behavior on a regular basis. Having compassion for Berkeley’s homeless population and expecting our commercial sidewalks and parks to be clean, safe, and welcoming are not mutually exclusive.

Finally, we need to address this problem regionally. Berkeley can’t do it alone. Political collaboration is incredibly important, especially because we need to produce regional solutions to important issues like homelessness, housing.

Recent Accomplishments:

  • I led investments in permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals, including modular housing, step-up housing and the Berkeley Way project.
  • I supported court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment for mentally ill individuals on our streets.
  • I mandated biannual comprehensive homeless services reports so we can track the funding and effectiveness of our homeless services, shelters, and programs. We need to a) know how much money we are spending and b) spend it the best way to help homeless individuals get into homes or treatment.
  • I have consistently supported navigation centers and shelters to provide Berkeley’s unhoused residents a place to access respite, laundry, food and services.
  • I successfully advocated for mobile bathroom and shower facilities to better address the health and safety needs of our homeless population and broader community. 

 

If I see illegal street behavior or health/safety violations, what should I do?

  • If you see any active illegal behavior, please report that to Berkeley Police by calling 510-981-5900 in a timely manner. Please try to distinguish details about the incident - where it specifically took place, what time, what the person looked like, etc. BPD uses incident reports to identify areas in need of more frequent patrolling.
  • If you need to report health and safety concerns such as drug paraphernalia, human waste, etc. you can contact District 8’s Area Coordinator, the Police Officer tasked with coordinating other departments/services, Officer Sean Tinney, and he can be reached at 510-981-5778 or stinney@cityofberkeley.info. Please also email or call 311 (landline) or 510-981-2489 by cell to let Berkeley's Customer Service team know. 311 logs in complaints and prioritizes accordingly. 
  • The City’s Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team can be reached at 510-981-5244.

Read about Housing and Homeless Services - FAQs

Read about Homeless Policies and Funding - FAQs

What is the City doing to address homelessness?

Detailed Homelessness Budget for FY19-20
(Dollars in Millions)
The table below displays the FY19-20 homelessness budget by service and by fund source.
  • The City spends a total of $1.3 million to fund 244 shelter beds, with an additional 45 beds funded through Pathways Navigation Center, for a total of 289 shelter beds.
  • The 45 shelter beds at Pathways are significantly more expensive (a total of $2.4 million) than the 244 traditional emergency shelter beds because Pathways is doing far more than simply providing respite from the outdoors; staff work to place people into permanent housing and rapid rehousing subsidies are sometimes provided to support clients as they transition. The total $2.4 million reflects these higher costs.