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File #: 2021-1123   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 7/20/2021
Title: Recommendation to Provide Direction on Constructing or Installing Temporary Shelters, Transitional Housing, and/or Permanent Supportive Housing in the City of Alameda; and Provide Direction on the Type of Homeless Housing Project to Pursue. (Community Development 10061833)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1a - Pallet Examples, 2. Exhibit 1b - Pallet High Level Conceptual Estimate Examples, 3. Exhibit 2a - Delphi Examples, 4. Exhibit 2b - Delphi Shelter High Level Conceptual Estimate Examples, 5. Exhibit 3 - Ground–Up New Construction Permanent Supportive Studios Estimate, 6. Exhibit 4 - Marina Village Inn Site, 7. Exhibit 5 - Shared Housing Estimate, 8. Correspondence from City Manager, 9. Correspondence - Updated 7-20



Recommendation to Provide Direction on Constructing or Installing Temporary Shelters, Transitional Housing, and/or Permanent Supportive Housing in the City of Alameda; and Provide Direction on the Type of Homeless Housing Project to Pursue. (Community Development 10061833)




To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council




There is a need for homeless housing in the city of Alameda.  Five individual sites, as well as one multi-site option, have been identified by staff as possible locations for these housing types.  Additionally, several examples of homeless housing types, including temporary shelters, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing, have been considered.  Staff recommends that City Council provide direction to pursue a project that includes the construction/installation of temporary units/shelters and provide direction as to which of the sites identified by staff in this report should be pursued. 




Alameda County’s homeless population grew by 43% (from 5,629 to 8,022) as shown by the 2017 and 2019 Point in Time (PIT) counts.  Alameda had a homeless population increase of 13% from 204 to 231 individuals during the same period.  On October 2, 2018, the City declared a Shelter Crisis.  Job loss, mental health, substance use, evictions, foreclosures, and incarceration have been identified in the final report by EveryOne Home in the 2019 PIT survey as causes of homelessness.  Based on observations, staff believes that homelessness in Alameda has further increased since 2019.  However, due to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) required 2021 Point-in-Time count, officially documenting the number of homeless every two years in all of Alameda County incorporated and unincorporated areas, was delayed to 2022.


Cities are challenged with finding housing solutions for those who are currently unhoused while also supporting the rise in homelessness.  Meanwhile, encampments continue to grow throughout Alameda.  Absent alternative housing options to offer the unhoused, the City of Alameda (City) is constrained by the decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Martin v. City of Boise, 902 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2018) and has limited means to abate encampments on public lands, causing frustration for some in the community.


While the Day Center, Safe Parking, and Operation Dignity programs have proven extremely valuable in their support to the immediate concerns around health, safety, and social service needs of Alameda’s unhoused population, these efforts only reduce homelessness in small increments.   This item is to focus on the proposal to bridge to permanent housing solutions via transitional housing options.  In addition, the City has also supported multiple affordable housing projects:


                     46 additional affordable rental apartments located at Rosefield Village;

                     72 units of affordable to moderate-income households, and 128 rental units for low and very low-income households being developed at Alameda Point; and

                     45 moderate income, 26 low income, and 33 very low income being developed at Alameda Marina.


While these are examples of permanent housing, temporary and transitional housing options are needed to more expeditiously move people from informal encampments to safer living situations, and to more effectively work with unhoused clients to secure permanent housing.




Staff is providing a summary of site options and housing type options for the city’s unhoused.  With direction from the City Council, staff will pursue a particular site(s) and a particular homeless housing type(s) and return to City Council with a more refined project(s) in terms of specifications and costs, among other things.


Site Options


Staff has combed the City for suitable places for transitional/supportive and or permanent supportive housing for the unhoused and has identified five possible locations, plus a multi-site option.  Four of the potential locations are owned by the City or the Successor Agency to the Community Improvement Commission (SACIC).  The privately-owned and the multi-site option (discussed below under Shared Housing Permanent Supportive) would need to be acquired.                     


                     Site 1 - Alameda Point Tennis Courts - This City-owned site is located on Main Street almost halfway between the Alameda Point main gate and West Midway Avenue, and next to the O’Club. 

                     Site 2 - Bottle Parcel - This SACIC-owned site is located at 2350 5th Street, adjacent to the field track at the College of Alameda. The site abuts the College of Alameda’s recreation areas. It is also across the street from the Bayport housing development.  The side yards, backyards, and garages of Bayport homes face the bottle parcel.

                     Site 3 - Grand Pavilion - This City owned site is located at 300 Island Drive.  It is at the far end of the large parking lot of the old Grand Pavilion and abuts the Corica golf course.  There is a Park and Ride lease in place on this site until November 1, 2021.

                     Site 4 - Alameda Point Camp Grounds Parking Lot - This City-owned site is located near West Hornet Avenue and Skyhawk Street.  The site abuts storage.  This parking lot is held by the City through the tidelands trust, and therefore, if transitional or supportive housing units are located here they must be removed in five years.

                     Site 5 - Marina Village Inn - This privately-owned site is located at 1151 Pacific Marina and was the location of Project Home Key.  It previously housed women and children during the COVID crisis.  It is a self-contained area that can be closed off from the public during evening hours.


Homeless Housing Type Options


Staff has reviewed several temporary shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing types for the unhoused.  All have their pluses and minuses, and all provide alternatives to living on the street.  Below are five examples of housing types.  Some examples can be funded and built within months, while others would take at least 18- to 30-months to fund and build.  All of the information below related to project specifics and costs will require further due diligence and refinement as we move forward.


Housing Type 1 - Prefabricated Pallet Temporary Shelter

These small 64-square foot prefab transitional housing units are delivered flat and ready for assembly.  Two of the units would be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.  Each basic unit can be assembled in approximately one hour.  Each Pallet unit would have heating, air conditioning, 20amp - 120 volt service, including a regular electrical outlet.  Prior to the product arriving, onsite work would be required to level and prepare the site for assembly of the units.  In addition, ancillary showers, laundry, toilets, an office and communal/meeting room units would need to be assembled or installed on the site.  Pallet provided four sample layouts for Sites 1 through 4.  Conceptual estimates to develop the sites range from $1,157,812 to $1,953,959 (approximately $57,891 to $97,698 per unit). Annual operating costs are estimated at $600,000.  Operating costs include an onsite full-time manager, a part-time assistant to the manager, a housing navigator, food and other supplies, 24-hour security and other direct and indirect expenses.  Pallet designs are based on input from the unhoused and manufactured by Pallet employees who are formerly homeless, addicted, or incarcerated.  Pallet shelters intentionally do not have restrooms.  It is part of the company’s philosophy.  They believe it helps to give residents a reason to leave their cabin and socialize.


In researching transitional housing site layouts, staff learned that outdoor seating, vegetables garden boxes for residents, parking for residents and staff, and a small dog park are welcomed amenities that humanize these sites.  The Pallet layouts illustrate some of these amenities. See Exhibits 1a for potential site layouts and Exhibit 1b for a high level conceptual estimate.


Housing Type 2 - Prefabricated Group Delphi Temporary Shelter

These 80-square foot prefab transitional housing units would be constructed in the Group Delphi (Delphi) manufacturing plant at Alameda Point.  Two units would be ADA accessible.  The fully constructed units would be delivered to the site.  Each unit could be wired for electrical or connected to an USB and a LED fixture powered by a solar panel.  These units can be built with or without individual bathrooms.  Similar amenities to the units described in the Pallet description above are part of the conceptual design.  The Delphi example also has a hot house.  This is a small thermal unit that is used to eliminate pests from a new resident’s belongings by heating them to high temperatures.  See Exhibits 2a for potential site layouts for Site 2 and Exhibit 2b for high level conceptual estimates.  Conceptual estimates to develop the Site 2 examples range from $1,411,000 to $2,161,000 (approximately $70,544 to $108,032 per unit).  Annual operating costs are estimated at $600,000, as described above.


Housing Type 3 - Ground-Up New Construction of 40 Units of Permanent Supportive Studios

This 40-unit studio project with space on the first floor for a navigation center would have ample room for case worker offices, large meeting rooms, a community kitchen, management staff offices and space for other supportive services.  Each studio unit would have a kitchenette and bathroom.  This project would be located at Site 2.  The conceptual project estimate is $25,400,000 (approximately $635,000 per unit).  Operating costs would be paid from rent.

In order for this project to be feasible, it would need to be funded in part by Project Homekey and tax credit equity.  Operation Dignity and Danco Communities (collectively, the Development Partners) would partner with the City and work with the County of Alameda on this project.  They would also need to make arrangements with the Alameda Housing Authority to secure 50% Project Based Vouchers for the project.  The Development Partners are requesting that the SACIC or City sell the property to the development entity and make a 55-year residual receipts loan, the terms of which have not been negotiated.  Typically, loan payments are made after all operating costs have been paid and the remaining amount is a negotiated pro rata percentage that is paid to the Development Partners and the SACIC or City as the lender.  There would be a 55-year affordability covenant recorded on the land.  There would need to be a commitment to use the County’s Coordinated Entry system for lease-up.  See Exhibit 3 for a pro forma estimate example.  The estimate does not include any Project Roomkey assumptions.


Housing Type 4 - Marina Village Inn Permanent Supportive Studios

This 51-room three building motel (see Exhibit 4) would be converted into permanent supportive housing studios.  Some of the rooms would be combined to house families.  This project would require extensive renovations to the motel to address substantial deferred maintenance, including adding kitchenettes to each unit, new roofs on three buildings, dry rot removal and repair, extensive interior and exterior ADA upgrades, elimination of the swimming pool, adding washers and dryers for communal use, adding a communal kitchen and a community room (within the existing hotel), and systems, like electrical and plumbing, will likely be upgraded. The project is estimated to cost up to $12,000,000 and $20,000,000 including both acquisition and renovation costs (approximately $235,294 and $392,157 per unit). Operating costs would run approximately $1,530,000 annually.  Operating costs include an onsite manager, an assistant to the manager, a maintenance worker, a housing navigator, food and related supplies, 24-hour security and other direct and indirect expenses.  The operating costs would be paid for in part by rent and housing vouchers, some annual subsidy for operations may be required.


We are evaluating a variety of funding sources for this project.  One key potential funding sour is Project Homekey.  There would be a 55-year affordability covenant recorded on the land.  There would need to be a commitment to use the County’s Coordinated Entry system for lease-up.  In addition, one other potential funding source is part of the ARPA funds.  A partnership with the County programs may also be a particular source to pursue.

Housing Type 5 - Shared Housing Permanent Supportive

This permanent supportive housing type would require identifying and purchasing one or more large homes in the City and renovating rooms within the homes for individual use and outfitting the common areas for shared usage.  Renovations would include combining rooms to add bathrooms in every bedroom, upgrading the kitchen for communal usage, furnishings the bedrooms, offices and the common areas, and creating outdoor sitting areas in the backyard.  Each home would house approximately five people, more if a couple(s) occupied a room(s).  This project would cost $1,695,978 for one home to $6,783,913 for four homes (approximately $84,799 per unit) (see Exhibit 5).  Operating costs would run from $50,000 to $100,000 annually.  Operating costs would include, a housing navigator and maintenance.  The estimated operating costs assumes that the housing navigator contract would be part of a larger service provider contract with the City.


Project Homekey

As of the writing of this report, the application process has not opened up for the next round of Project Homekey.  It is estimated to open in about September.  All of the projects listed above may be suitable for Project Roomkey if the eligibility requirements are similar to last year.  The prior requirements included:

                     Control of the property by the sponsor, which control is not contingent on the approval of any other party.

                     55-year affordability covenant recorded on the land.

                     Maximum award amount of up to $200,000 per door (unit) of capital.

                     The first $100,000 per unit of capital required no match:

o                     the next $50,000 per unit of capital required a one to one match; and

o                     the final $50,000 per unit of capital required a two to one match.

                     Up to 24 months of operating subsidies were available for funding with an additional 36 months of operating subsidies as match.  Applicants who received no operating subsidy award had to contribute 60 months of operating subsidies as a match.

                     For any project costing below $350,000 per unit, if the applicant contributed more than a minimum match, as described above, the application received one extra point for every additional 5% per unit contributed to the project, thus making the project more competitive and more likely to receive funds from the State of California.




Staff is requesting that the City Council provide direction to pursue a project or multiple projects that includes the construction/installation of temporary prefabricated units/shelters - either option 1 or option 2 above- and provide direction as to which of the sites identified by staff in this report should be pursued.  We are also seeking direction on moving forward on the hotel option and whether Council wants to pursue both or focus on one of the options.


Staff’s rationale for recommending option 1 or option 2 involving prefabricated units is that this type of homeless housing can be constructed most quickly, inexpensively and efficiently, and allows the City to provide a dignified type of homeless housing in the near future.  




                     Direct staff to pursue a project providing temporary units/shelter, as described in option 1 or option 2 above, on one of the above sites described above, as directed by City Counsel.

                     Direct staff to pursue the Marina Village Inn or other hotel including continuing to pursue funding options.

                     Direct staff to pursue other project sites, such as, the unexplored site near the rear entrance to the Posey Tube and/or other project types.

                     Direct staff to discontinue efforts to provide temporary shelters, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing.




There is no financial impact to the City from providing direction to staff.  However, if the City Council directs staff to proceed with a temporary shelter, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing project, financial contributions will be required from the City that would be subject to future City Council appropriations and approval.




This action is consistent with the Social Service Human Relations Board Charter and Ordinance authority “to improve social services in the community” (Alameda Municipal Code Section 2-9.1).




This action is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) section 15378(b)(5) (not a project); and section 15601(b)(3) (no significant environmental impact).




The transactions contemplated herein do not implicate the Surplus Lands Act (SLA) because the land will be eligible to be declared exempt under the SLA, as the land will be transferred for the development of affordable housing with restrictions as described in Government Code Section 25539.4 or 37364.




There are no identifiable climate impacts or climate action opportunities associated with the subject of this report. 




Provide direction on whether to construct or install temporary shelters, transitional housing, and/or permanent supportive housing on a site in the City of Alameda and provide direction on the type of homeless housing project to pursue.




Staff has been working diligently on evaluating the hotel option including the costs and potential funding for this option.  Staff has also has evaluated several sites for transitional/supportive housing.  The variety of options evaluated have been identified in the report.


We request direction so that staff can continue to move forward in creating transitional housing opportunities.


Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Nelson Maxwell, Community Development Director



Lois Butler, Economic Development Manager


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Annie To, Finance Director



1.                     Exhibit 1a Pallet Examples

2.                     Exhibit 1b Pallet - High Level Conceptual Estimate Examples

3.                     Exhibit 2a Delphi Examples

4.                     Exhibit 2b Delphi Shelter - High Level Conceptual Estimate Examples

5.                     Exhibit 3 Ground - Up New Construction Permanent Supportive Studios Estimate Example

6.                     Exhibit 4 Marina Village Inn Site

7.                     Exhibit 5 Shared Housing Permanent Supportive High Level Conceptual Estimate Examples



cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager

Gerry Beaudin, Assistant City Manager