Homelessness is a growing societal issue for Fremont and a regional concern for the Bay Area. The 2019 Point-in-Time Count found that the Bay Area’s homeless population increased by 43%; in Fremont our homeless population increased by 27%, from 479 to 608 individuals. Of the 608 homeless counted in Fremont, 485 are without shelter.
Homelessness at the State and Regional Level
California has a disproportionate amount of the country’s homeless population.
California makes up only 12% of the United States’ total population, but 24% of the country’s homeless live in our state. More concerning is that 69% of the California homeless are unsheltered, which roughly equates to 90,000 unsheltered California residents on any given night. Recognizing this is a statewide crisis, the Governor’s Budget has allocated over $1 billion over the past two fiscal years to address homelessness at the local level. Cities across California are working to address homelessness.
Addressing Homelessness in Fremont
Since the last Homeless Point-in-Time Count in 2017, the Fremont City Council has taken steps in developing policies to address homelessness in our community.
Major programs and initiatives include:
- Developing an internal homeless policy committee
- Forming a partnership between Fremont Police Department, Washington Hospital, and Fremont Human Services Department to create a Mobile Evaluation Team
- Transitioning the annual Warming Center into a Seasonal Winter Shelter providing nightly shelter from November to March
- City Council adopted a resolution declaring a shelter crisis allowing the City to receive additional state funding to address homelessness
- Rented 25 rooms at the Islander Motel to provide temporary housing prior to the property being converted to affordable housing
- Partnered with Bay Area Community Services (BACS) to expand the drop-in Wellness Day Center
- Purchased a Mobile Hygiene Unit in partnership with Newark to provide shower and laundry amenities to those experiencing homelessness
- Selected BACS through a competitive Request for Information (RFI) process as the future Housing Navigation Center operator
These programs and initiatives work together with other service providers, state and federal programs, and non-profit agencies to address homelessness. The development of a temporary Housing Navigation Center is part of creating a comprehensive program to address homelessness in Fremont.
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
The Fremont Navigation Center is not a drop-in center. It does not allow for walk-ins. Clients of the Fremont Housing Navigation Center are selected through an intake process and receive intensive case management to ensure individual needs are met and clients are set-up for success.
Who will operate the Fremont Housing Navigation Center?
Bay Area Community Services (BACS) was selected to operate through a Request for Information issued by the City of Fremont.
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. 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 sites are being considered for placement of the Fremont Navigation Center?
The Fremont City Council is considering two potential locations for a temporary housing navigation center in Fremont.
- Decoto Surplus Property (unleased property next to Regan Nursery)
- Parking Lot at Fremont City Hall (rear area)
Both site locations are:
- Within one-half mile of food and bus services
- Utility connection points are available
- Located outside of a fault trace zone,
- Not subject to the hazard of surface fault ruptures.
Photos of Potential Navigation Center Sites
When will the Navigation Center be built?
City staff will return to City Council in September (meeting date TBD) with the results of a thorough site and cost analysis and community outreach for each site. Once City Council selects a final site, the City will then proceed with the procurement of contracts to implement the center in 2020.
Please provide feedback regarding Fremont's temporary Housing Navigation Center
The following survey is open to the public. The results of the survey, in additional to the feedback received at the Community Workshops, will be shared with the Fremont City Council at a City Council Meeting in September (date TBD).