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Alameda County supervisors could declare a state of emergency over homelessness

Alameda County leaders on Tuesday could declare homelessness a state of emergency across the county.

The county adopted a community plan that includes a $2.5 billion investment on shelter, housing and rental assistance, but an emergency declaration would expedite and focus resources on implementing and scaling the county’s response.

As of early 2022, the county had at least 9,747 unhoused residents on a single night – 73% of whom were unsheltered. That number increased over 70% since 2017.

The number of annual homeless deaths also grew considerably between 2018 and 2020. In 2021, over 1,100 county residents died while experiencing homelessness.

These are just some of the statistics that Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley cites in his recommendation to the board, urging them to approve a countywide state of emergency on homelessness that would also direct the Office of Homeless Care and Coordination to lead an emergency response with recommendations within 60 days.

A vote is scheduled to happen Tuesday during the board of supervisors meeting.

If approved, the emergency declaration would provide additional tools to the county, including expedited procurement of critical items, expanded services, and the ability to request additional resources from the state and federal governments.

This would not be the first emergency declaration on homelessness in the state. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared a homelessness emergency on her first day in office in December 2022 to fast-track moving people off the streets.

Earlier this year, a group of frustrated San Franciscans also urged Mayor London Breed to make a similar declaration.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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