By Christin Ayers

ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) — Neighbors outraged over a plan to turn an Alameda federal building into housing for the homeless voiced their opposition at a Monday night planning board meeting.

The facility sits across the street from the Crab Cove Visitors Center, a children’s center and a public park. Monday night’s vote is really a formality. A nonprofit’s plan to change the site into a haven for the homeless already has the green light.

But neighbors have mounted a last-ditch plan to stop it.

Area residents came to the meeting to fight back against a controversial makeover of this old federal building into 90 units of housing for older and newly homeless people.

Those who live nearby say it’s a safety risk.

“These people go off their meds and they can go bipolar. They can be calm one moment, and then right into violence,” said one woman who spoke at the meeting.

“I’m standing up. Standing up for the kids and I’m just standing up for our rights; our voters rights. We matter,” said Liza Gabato Morse, a member of the group Friends of Crab Cove.

But Doug Bigg, the executive director for the nonprofit Alameda Point Collaborative. entered into the lease a couple of weeks ago and he already has the keys. He says the project is moving forward.

“I’m very confident that the facility will be safe,” said Biggs. “Seeing the crisis in homelessness throughout our county, people are obviously concerned. It’s become a very visible problem. On the other hand, this is one of the really beneficial solutions to it.”

Gabato Morse and her neighbors are prepared to throw a hail mary to stop the project. They’re gathering signatures to get a measure on the ballot designating the area open space.

“And once it’s open space, it’s open space. You can’t run anything there that would cause the environment to have an impact,” said Gabato Morse.

Biggs says even as the project pushes forward, he understands the concerns and is listening.

“There’s kernels of wisdom that we can draw on on how to make this a really good project. And that’s what I want to focus on,” said Biggs.

It will be up to the Alameda City Council to give final approval on the project in December.

Christin Ayers

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