East BayNews

Oakland shifts money to homelessness


The Oakland City Council has voted unanimously to approve a package of mid-cycle budget adjustments that will address the city’s most pressing needs, according to Councilman Abel Guillen.

After the council voted Tuesday night to approve the adjustments to the two-year budget for fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2019.

Guillen said:

“These budget adjustments provide crucial funding to address Oakland’s most pressing needs, from reducing homelessness, illegal dumping, and sex trafficking to providing additional resources for job training, our parks and healthy projects for our children and families.”

Guillen said he spearheaded amendments to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth’s budget recommendations in partnership with Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington and Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney.

According to Guillen, with the adoption of the amendments, the city allocated an additional $8.6 million in grants recently released from the state’s budget to address Oakland’s homelessness crisis.

He said $1 million will be spent on immediate sanitation, health and hygiene services for unsheltered residents and the remaining $7.6 million will be spent on developing a homelessness-response strategy in coordination with Alameda County.

Guillen said the City Council approved more than $1.4 million to step up its efforts to stop illegal dumping and get trash off the city’s streets.

He said that amount includes nearly $1 million to expand a zone-based pilot program to the most impacted neighborhoods, fund an additional four-person rapid-response crew and add two litter-enforcement crew members that will fine repeat offenders that deface Oakland’s communities.

In addition, the council voted to spend more than $4.4 million on playgrounds, pools and sports facilities to improve community wellness.

Campbell Washington said in a statement:

“I am thrilled that we adopted a budget investing a significant amount of soda tax funds to improve our parks, playgrounds and pools.”

Guillen said an additional $450,000 is being added to the budget to fund an analysis of spending on Oakland’s workforce-development programs and services, including job training, job preparation and placement services programs.

The budget adjustments also call for spending $75,000 to address sex-trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

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