This Labor Day weekend, I hope you and loved ones are able to connect in a safe, healthy and joyful way. Please keep in mind that the U.S. Weather Service has declared an Excessive Heat Watch in effect Saturday 11AM until Monday 9PM.
Stay informed of unfolding weather / air quality updates by signing up for AC Alerts and learn about power outage safety tips, back-up power options, and potential wildfire preparedness with resources from Oakland Firesafe Council and Oakland Community Preparedness & Response.
In this newsletter you’ll find updates on:
- Direct COVID-19 financial assistance for renters and homeowners, and COVID-positive residents
- Alameda County’s reopening plans
- New mental health hotline in Oakland
- Local updates and resources
COVID-19 Low-Income Renter & Homeowner Relief
Apply for One-Time Financial Assistance
Oakland has received $36.9 million in State of California CARES Act funding. $5M has been allocated to provide one-time financial assistance to low-income renters and homeowners impacted by COVID-19.
Renter applicants can contact the following organizations to apply:
- Bay Area Community Services (BACS) by calling (510) 899-9289, texting (510) 759-4877 or applying at housing.bayareacs.org.
- Catholic Charities East Bay at (510) 768-3100 or www.cceb.org.
- Centro Legal de la Raza at (510) 422-5669 or www.centrolegal.org.
Homeowner applicants should contact Housing & Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) at (510) 271-8443 extension 300 or www.heraca.org.
Applicants must be current Oakland residents, a low-income individual or household, and at risk of losing their home. The maximum qualifying income per household is $73.1K for 1 person, $83.5K for 2 people, $94K for 3 people, $104K for 4 people, $112.8K for 5 people. See more here.
Funding is extremely limited, and applications will be prioritized based on need, severity of COVID-19 impact, and funding availability. For more information on this program contact the City of Oakland's Housing Resource Center at (510) 238-6182.
I am proud to have authored Oakland’s Eviction Moratorium, the strongest in the state, which remains in place until the end of the local emergency. Learn more about the Oakland Eviction Moratorium.
Financial Assistance to COVID-19 Positive Residents
In East & West Oakland, San Antonio/Fruitvale
A new county program has launched, called the Alameda County Responsibility to Community Health / ARCH program, that provides financial assistance to self-isolating County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and reside in designated high-risk neighborhoods. The zip codes that qualify in Oakland are East Oakland: 94621 and 94603, San Antonio/Fruitvale: 94606, and West Oakland: 94607. See eligibility information and FAQs here.
County Reopening Updates
Hair Salons, Barbershops May Open Indoors
Effective yesterday, Friday, September 4, updated Alameda County Health Orders allow:
- Hair salons and barbershops to operate indoors
- Outdoor dance classes as part of outdoor non-contact fitness classes
- Mini-golf, batting cages, driving ranges, and kart racing, as allowed by the State’s Family Entertainment Center Guidance
- Retail stores remain at a 25% capacity limit
- Grocery stores may operate indoors with a 50% capacity limit
Nail, non-medical massages, skin care and waxing services may only operate outdoors. See more here about openings for specific activities / facilities.
Launch of New Mental Health Hotline
Non-Police Response to Psychiatric, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence Emergencies
Congrats and gratitude to Anti Police-Terror Project for launching MH First Oakland, a cutting-edge new model for non-police response to mental health crisis, psychiatric emergencies, substance use support, and domestic violence situations that require victim extraction.
MH First Oakland is available in the form of a free hotline 510-999-9MH1 on Friday & Saturday nights from 8pm to 8am, when there are currently no other mental health support options available.
Oakland will be the second city now operating this service; MH First Sacramento has been operating since January 2020.
This is a big step to interrupt and eliminate the need for law enforcement in mental health crisis first response by providing mobile peer support, de-escalation assistance, and non-punitive and life-affirming interventions, therefore decriminalizing emotional and psychological crises and decreasing the stigma around mental health, substance use, and domestic violence, while also addressing their root causes: white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism. Read more about MH First Oakland in Oaklandside.
In addition, Oakland will pilot a mental health program called MACRO which will replace police officers with mental health professionals to respond to non-violent mental health emergencies. This program is the result of years of advocacy by the Coalition for Police Accountability and others. Read more about MACRO in Oaklandside.
- On August 28th, City Council unanimously approved acquiring more than 20 buildings to create up to 266 units of housing with supportive services to serve our unsheltered community. If Oakland receives the $37M we requested from the state's HomeKey program, this will significantly expand our ability to provide housing for our most vulnerable neighbors. Read more from Oaklandside: Oakland wants to buy more than 20 buildings for homeless and COVID-19.
- Oakland will be seating and launching its Homeless Advisory Commission this Fall. After September 17th, please see the City of Oakland web site to submit your application to serve on the Commission.
- California passed SB 1079, Homes for Homeowners Not Corporations, authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner. The legislation gives tenants, families, local governments, and housing nonprofits an opportunity to buy foreclosed homes before large corporate buyers can snatch them up - like they did during the 2008 Foreclosure Crisis. It also provides local governments with the authority to fine corporations or other owners that leave homes vacant or blighted, rather than refurbishing, renting, or selling them. Read more here.
- Ambassadors in North Oakland provide outreach to homeless, East Bay Times
- Here’s what you need to know about California’s eviction protections, East Bay Times
Akoma Outdoor Black & Brown Market: Please support the grand opening of Black Cultural Zone-organized Akoma Outdoor Market this Sunday, September 6th from 9 AM to 2 PM at Liberation Park (6955 Foothill Boulevard). The market will feature Black and Brown owned vendors, farm stands, food trucks, health and wellness providers and more!
Low Interest Federal Disaster Loans: Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters in Oakland whose property was damaged or destroyed during the demonstrations that began May 26, 2020. Learn more about how to apply here. Contact the Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center, Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at FOCWAssistance@sba.gov or (916) 735-1500 for help. Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The filing deadline for Business Physical Disaster Loans is September 16, 2020.
Free Student Meals in District 2: Mondays and Thursdays until 1 PM, pick up free “Grab and Go” meals for any student registered and enrolled in OUSD TK to 12th grade, or in Early Childhood Education or Young Adult Programs. There are five sites in District 2 -- La Escuelita, Bella Vista, Cleveland, Garfield and Oakland High. Please bring one of the following to help expedite your meal pick up, the letter mailed by Nutrition Services that explains the changes and includes your child’s ID# and a scannable barcode, OR your child’s student ID card with their Aeries ID# from the previous year.
Two New Resources on Street Paving: Oakland's Department of Transportation / OakDOT launched two new resources to help residents stay updated on the City's 3-year paving plan, which is tripling Oakland's annual spending on paving to $100M, prioritizing $75M on local neighborhood streets based on proximity to schools, street condition, and equity. First, check out their new page listing upcoming paving citywide for the next 3 months under the currently anticipated schedule. Between now and October, several streets in Eastlake will be paved. The schedule will be updated monthly here. Second, there's a map of the paving that's been completed in Year 1 of the plan.
Share Your Feedback on Capital Improvement Projects: The City is starting the process of seeking community input to identify and select capital projects for funding in the next 2021-23 program cycle. Capital projects improve and maintain Oakland’s public facilities and infrastructure. They can range from restoring aging fire stations to improving streets and sidewalks to building new recreation centers.
Text “Hello” to 510-804-3948 and take a brief survey to share your input and learn more here. Projects from the current 2019-21 cycle in District 2 include Lincoln Square Recreation Center, San Antonio Park Recreation Center and the Main Library, along with many projects across the City.
Oakland Pride: This year’s Pride festival will be scaled-down virtually via Twitch and will also include a virtual vendor village live all through September, where visitors can support 100+ local businesses. Learn more from Oaklandside.