Housing Navigation Center
The Fremont City Council held a Special City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, to consider the development of Fremont’s temporary Housing Navigation Center at either a site in the Decoto neighborhood or in the rear parking lot of Fremont’s City Hall. Tuesday’s Special City Council meeting was well attended and approximately 200 community members spoke during the public meeting, providing input to City Council on the development of a navigation center and the two proposed finalist sites. After receiving the report from City staff and public comment, the Council unanimously approved the rear parking lot of the Fremont City Hall for the location of the temporary Housing Navigation Center.
Addressing Fremont's Homeless Crisis
The purpose of the Housing Navigation Center is to help address the City’s homeless crisis. The 2019 Homeless Point-in-Time Count revealed that the homeless population in Fremont increased by 27% since 2017. Of the 608 homeless counted in Fremont, 485 are without shelter. The housing navigation center will provide homeless in Fremont shelter and a path to securing permanent housing.
What is the Fremont Housing Navigation Center?
The Fremont housing navigation center will provide a clean, safe, calm and flexible environment that allows homeless persons to rebuild their lives and intensely focus on finding stable permanent housing. The center is modeled after the City of Berkeley's successful Housing Navigation (STAIR) Center.
The Fremont Navigation Center will provide:
- Outreach services
- Up to six months of housing for 45 homeless adults
- One meal a day is provided and a communal kitchenette
- Storage for personal belongings
- 24/7 onsite staff
- Hygiene services (toilets, showers, and laundry)
- Health and wellness services
- Employment/benefit assistance
- Substance abuse services
- Intensive case management
- Housing navigation
Where will Fremont's temporary Housing Navigation Center be located?
On September 10, 2019, at the Special City Council Meeting the Fremont City Council unanimously approved the rear parking lot of the Fremont City Hall for the location of the temporary Housing Navigation Center. Councilmembers selected the City Hall site based on its proximity to services, food access, and transportation.
Who will operate the Fremont Housing Navigation Center?
A Request for Information (RFI) was developed and solicited by the City and sent to four potential service operators and EveryOne Home. Two highly qualified agencies submitted proposals. After a review of information submitted and response to written questions, interviews were held with six raters, one each from the City Manager’s Office, the Police Department, Human Services Department, Community Services Department, and two community members. In late May, after significant discussion, Bay Area Community Service (BACS) was selected to be the operator of Fremont's temporary Housing Navigation Center.
BACS is also the operator of the Berkeley Stair Center, Oakland’s two Navigation Centers, and was also selected to be the operator for a Navigation Center in Hayward. BACS anticipates being able to quickly replicate existing services and ramp up operations. BACS has extensive experience providing navigation services for persons experiencing homelessness. More details regarding their ongoing programs and success can be found in their Annual Report. For additional information regarding BACS’ Form 990s visit GuideStar.
BACS has operated in Fremont since 1974. BACS South County Wellness Center, which is on Grimmer Boulevard, is a drop-in site for homeless adults and adults living with behavioral health challenges and housing insecurity. The site offers showers, wardrobe pantry, meals, and will soon offer laundry services, as well as housing navigation assistance.
What is HEAP Funding and how will it be used for the Housing Navigation Center?
Given the statewide increase in the number of individuals experiencing homelessness, pressure from the Mayors of the large urban cities in the State, as well as broad and increased vocalization from elected officials everywhere, the Governor approved one-time funding in the State’s FY 2018-19 Budget to address the State’s homeless crisis as part of a new Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). HEAP was established by statute to provide localities with flexible block grant funds to address their immediate homelessness challenges.
The Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grant provides $500 million in one-time funding to enable local governments to respond to homelessness. Allocations are as follows:
- $250 million to Continuums of Care based on 2017 homeless point-in-time count
- $150 million direct allocation to a city or city that is also a county with a population of 330,000 or more as of January 1, 2018; and
- $100 million to Continuums of Care based on their percentage of the statewide 2017 homeless population
The State funding allocation for FY 2018-19 included $16,192,049 to the Alameda County Continuum of Care, of which the City of Fremont was awarded $2,078,880, which included the City of Newark’s allocation of $229,638 based on both cities combined portion of the 2017 Alameda County Point-in-Time unsheltered homeless population.
The Fremont City Council has not appropriated funding directly to the Housing Navigation Center. However, the combined $2,078,880 in HEAP funds for the cities of Fremont and Newark can be used to assist in addressing our community’s immediate homeless challenges. As a small city, Newark is unable to directly utilize its allocated portion of HEAP funding to assist the homeless and has agreed to allocate their funds to Fremont, so resources stay within the Tri-City Region.
Fremont, Newark, and Union City have worked cooperatively in serving the Tri-City homeless population. The City of Newark is providing their portion of HEAP funding towards the Navigation Center project and Union City is using their HEAP funds for their CareaVan Program, which serves homeless families and singles sleeping in their cars. The program accepts participants from Fremont.
How much will the Housing Navigation Center cost?
The Fremont City Council has not selected a Housing Navigation Center site. There are no cost estimates yet for the physical development of a site. The operating costs for the Center are estimated at $2.45 million. Of this amount, approximately $600,000 per year will be flexible funds to assist homeless persons to achieve their housing goals, (i.e. first and last months rent, titrated rent subsidies, assistance with furnishings, etc.)
According to the study Home Not Found – The Cost of Homelessness in Silicon Valley, for those that use emergency services the most (i.e. ambulance, police response, jail time, emergency room), it can cost taxpayers $100,000 annually compared to $30,000 annually to pay for subsidized housing. Housing someone with stability, in a Navigation Center for example, with wrap-around services, should reduce the need for emergency response (police, fire, ambulance and emergency room visits).
Who will be served at the Fremont Housing Navigation Center?
Homeless individuals that are 18 or older will be eligible. The term “homeless” can have many definitions. For the participants in the Navigation Center, the City uses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition which is defined as “someone living or residing in a place not suitable for human habitation (i.e. vehicle, on the street, abandoned building).”
The housing navigation center will not take walk-ins.
Participants must complete the intake process with a BACS staff member.
This includes a Coordinated Entry Assessment as part of Alameda County’s Coordinated Entry System.
What type of housing do participants of the Housing Navigation Center move into?
The type of housing BACS finds for people is a wide range. One of the things that's most important about the Navigation Center and the housing navigation staff is that they are looking for housing on an individualized basis based upon what the participant's resources and income are, what kind of housing they would be most successful in, and what housing they can sustain in the long run.
Below is a chart of the type of housing participants have exited into since BACS started operating navigation centers in 2013. This is aggregate data of both the Berkeley and Oakland housing navigation centers.
|Living with family, permanent tenure, with lease||24%|
|Rental by client, permanent tenure, with lease||15%|
|Living with friends, roommates, or other unrelated individuals, permanent tenure, with lease||51%|
|Permanent supportive housing, lifetime subsidy, with lease||10%|
* 65% enter into permanent housing with no ongoing subsidy
When will the Fremont Housing Navigation Center be built?
Community Outreach Workshops
There were three opportunities for the public to attend community outreach workshops where staff provided information about Fremont's temporary Housing Navigation Center, answered questions, and received feedback regarding the two potential sites considered by City Council.
Workshop Order of Events
All workshops followed the same order of events:
- Lobby activities
- Staff presentation
- Q&A with City staff
- Verbal comment
- Workshop concludes
August 14 from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
August 24 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
August 26 from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fremont Teen Center, 39770 Paseo Padre Pkwy.
Materials from Previous Public Meetings
- Homelessness Study Update, April 17, 2018
- Homeless Study Update, July 17, 2018
- Declaration of a Shelter Crisis, September 18, 201
- Shelter Crisis Resolution, April 16, 2019
- Update on Strategies and Priorities to Address Homelessness, June 18, 2019
- Evaluation of Potential Sites to Location a Housing Navigation Center, July 9, 2019
- See above for community workshop materials and presentations
- Selection of the temporary Housing Navigation Center location, September 10, 2019.