Oakland votes to allocate $14M bond money to help nearly 3,000 homeless

Oakland’s City Council voted this week to allocate $14 million dollars from Measure KK bond funds to help the homeless.

The money will go toward buying existing motel properties to get people off the streets and also provide other health and social services. There are an estimated 5,600 homeless people in Alameda County.

Funding comes as new data shows that Oakland has the largest number of unsheltered residents in Alameda County. Statistics from the “EveryOne Counts! 2017,” survey shows that Oakland has nearly 3,000 homeless people.

“Homelessness is a large and growing crisis in our community,” said Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who had wanted to spend $15 million on the issue. “And illustrates the need for us to take immediate action to fund solutions to solve the homeless crisis facing our City and larger region.”

In an interview Thursday with KTVU, Kaplan said that the city could either buy "two medium-sized" existing motel buildings or "one large one" to possibly house 500 people per year. She was not more specific.

She also said that the city needs to look at longer term solutions, such as providing more money for job training and construct new houses so that people have places to live.