ALAMEDA (KPIX) — A proposal for a homeless facility in Alameda, on prime waterfront land that’s ripe for development is not sitting well with some of the island’s residents.
The plan is to turn a 78,000 square foot space into a medical respite for the newly homeless, and a permanent housing facility for the aging homeless population in Alameda County.
The building is across the street from the Crab Cove Visitor Center, run by the East Bay Regional Park District, which includes a popular children’s center and a sprawling public park.
“We’re going to use the space for 90 units of senior housing for homeless seniors 55 and above” said Doug Biggs of the non-profit Alameda Point Collaborative. “Homeless seniors are the largest growing sector that we have now.”
The land used to belong to the federal government; most recently the Department of Agriculture used the space to test meat for harmful chemicals and E. coli.
Biggs wants to gut the building, rehabilitate it, and house homeless seniors here within three years.
The Alameda Point Collaborative applied for ownership earlier this year. The city’s planning commission is expected to formally transfer the building to him on Monday.
But some neighbors hate the idea. “It’s just a bad plan a bad plan in the wrong place that’s how I feel,” said Alameda resident Kristine Moore.
“What if they come out your start camping and start using drugs? Not all of them use drugs but some of them do and needles are tossed around we have children running barefoot,” said Moore.
Idyllic Alameda has managed to somewhat isolate itself from the homeless crisis compared to other parts of the East Bay.
The county count shows only 204 homeless people live in the city of Alameda. Compare that to more than 2,700 in Oakland and 972 in Berkeley.
The community group “Friends of Crab Cove” is petitioning for a ballot measure that would preserve the property as open space.
“We have an initiative to trigger a special election and we’re hoping that people will stand up again and protect Crab Cove and protect the best place to bring your kids,” said Liza Gabato of Friends of Crab Cove.
The Alameda Point collaborative is the only entity that applied to take over the government space when it became available.
The East Bay Regional Park District says it’s staying out of the argument, but it doesn’t want the property and told the city it’s not suitable for park space.
Monday’s meeting is expected to be packed with protesters.