Frequently Asked Questions About Measure A and Measure B on the Alameda Ballot
What is Measure A?
In December 2018, the Alameda City Council voted to make minor changes to the zoning designation on a 3.65-acre parcel on McKay Avenue to allow non-federal uses of the land and
the existing eleven buildings. These buildings and their location are a perfect match for Alameda’s urgent need for additional senior and homeless services. A Yes vote on Measure A allows Alameda voters to confirm the City Council’s decisions to make the site available to provide senior assisted living and other supportive services for unsheltered individuals. It will also allow the City Council to change any land use designations for the site in the future in response to changing conditions or concerns.
What is Measure B?
Measure B, funded by a small number of people who own property near McKay Avenue, would change the zoning at the property, located at McKay Avenue, precluding any use for the property other than open space. To be clear, Measure B does not create or fund any new parks, and no agency responsible for open space creation in our community thinks the existing buildings are suitable for open space. It is just an attempt to stop the project.
Why is there a special election on April 9, 2019?
Opponents to the Alameda Wellness Center qualified an initiative, now known as Measure B, in an effort to stop the project. Because of the potential costs of delay, and because the homeless crisis is happening now, the City Council did the fiscally prudent thing and put their initiative (Measure A) and the opponents’ initiative (Measure B) on the ballot for an April election. Now voters have an opportunity to reaffirm Alameda’s reputation as a caring town.
Who is funding the measure to stop the Wellness Center
So far, most of the money to pay for signature gatherers has come from a out of town interests who own property in the vicinity of the project.
What exactly is the Alameda Wellness Center?
The Wellness Center is a multi-function center serving medically fragile homeless, and Alamedans at-risk of becoming homeless or newly homeless. It will contain 90 units of senior supportive housing, a 50-bed medical respite center, an onsite medical and mental health clinic, and a resource center.
What is the Alameda Point Collaborative?
The Alameda Point Collaborative is a permanent supportive housing program serving formerly homeless families. It has been in operation since 1999 and has helped thousands of Alameda County residents overcome the trauma of homelessness and attain stability. In addition to safe housing, they provide counseling, therapy, children and youth services, and a robust workforce development program.
How has the Alameda Point Collaborative worked with the community during this process?
Once the Alameda Point Collaborative was given conditional approval for the property, and prior to going before City Council for the zoning change, they met with numerous community groups and associations to discuss the proposed services. The first meetings were with the Park Webster and Crown Harbor HOAs. They have also met with the Western Alameda Business Association (WABA), the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, Social Service Human Relations Board, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, AUSD School Board, and parent teacher organizations at public and private school organizations in the neighborhood. As a result of public input, several components such as an overnight warming shelter were dropped from the project, and other modifications to address community concerns were adopted. The Alameda Point Collaborative has also established a steering committee made of of experts in the field as well as a community oversight committee to ensure the project operates within guidelines set. Project staff is available to come talk to your group about the project.
Is the Alameda Wellness Center a homeless shelter?
No, it is not. Shelters are usually overnight or short term drop in centers with limited support. The Wellness Center will include permanent housing for elders and a high acuity medical respite for homeless adults needing a place to recuperate after medical treatment.
Who has access to services at the Alameda Wellness Center?
Applicants for the senior supportive housing will be drawn off a countywide coordinated entry list with priority given to those age 55 and above with medical frailty. The housing will be permanent housing, and the plan is to have some beds designated for hospice needs. The respite center will serve homeless adults needing acute medical care after surgery or prior to or during treatment such as chemotherapy. An intake specialist will work closely with area hospitals to prioritize those that will most benefit medically from a respite stay. Length of time in respite can be anywhere from 1 week to 6 months, and all discharges from respite will be into housing or shelter - not on to the street. The resource center will serve Alamedans at-risk of or newly homeless with services and resources such as short to mid term subsidies designed to keep them housed or get quickly re-housed. Clients will demonstrate eligibility the same way they do at the foodbank, using mail with a local address, library card, school enrollment, or an affidavit from a clergy member or service provider .
Who owns this land?
Currently the federal government owns the land, as they have for the past 7 decades. The Alameda Point Collaborative has a three-year lease extendable to 20 years. The lease will be converted to a restricted deed of trust. The restrictions limit use of the property for homeless services only.
Why does the Alameda Point Collaborative have authority to build the Alameda Wellness Center on this land?
Under the Federal Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, public bodies and eligible nonprofit organizations and institutions that are concerned with providing assistance to the homeless may apply to acquire government property that has been determined suitable by the Housing and Urban Development Department for homeless use. In the case of the McKay Avenue property, the determination was made in April of 2017, and the Alameda Point Collaborative submitted a successful and comprehensive proposal and was awarded the property in December of 2017. Once the Alameda Point Collaborative completed the environmental assessment and other requirements, a lease was signed in September of 2018.
Who is paying for the Alameda Wellness Center?
No city taxpayer resources are needed to operate the Alameda Wellness Center, even though approximately 50% of its services are devoted to existing Alameda residents. The cost of applying for the property and completing all the application requirement were paid for by the Alameda Point Collaborative. Capital funding will come from a variety of sources including A-1 bond funds, tax credit financing, Prop 2 funding, and grants and contracts with foundations and health care and medical management organizations. Operating costs will be covered by unit subsidies, Medicare and medical billings through the health center, and operational funding provided by the County and medical management organizations.
What kind of security will there be at the Wellness Center?
The facility will be a fenced and gated compound that will have limited and controlled access and egress. There will be staff available 24/7 including medical, behavioral health, and security personnel. The site is uniquely suited and laid out to provide a safe healing environment for the residents and clients. There will be ample recreational and social activities onsite to keep residents and clients positively engaged.
Who will be responsible for security off the property?
Clients and residents will have house rules to abide by and the Alameda Point Collaborative will facilitate their safety and behavior onsite as well as off-site and address any issues that come up. The Alameda Point Collaborative already works closely with local police at Alameda Point, and that will continue at the Alameda Wellness Center.
Did Alameda voters previously make these buildings open space?
No. There has never been a vote to zone any land surrounding Crab Cove as open space. There was an initiative put on the ballot in 2008 for an adjacent property. The initiative language and actions of the City Council at the time were very clear that that Measure WW did not apply to this property.
Does the City or East Bay Regional Parks District want this land?
No, they do not. The East Bay Regional Parks District has stated in a letter to the City that the property is not suitable for park development, and they have no interest in acquiring the property. The City has taken the same position. It is also worth noting that at the time the Alameda Point Collaborative applied for the property, government agencies also had the opportunity to request the property and none did.
Is this land at Crab Cove?
No, it is not. it is across and up the street from Crab Cove, further away from the park than the existing housing that surrounds it.
What happens if Measure B passes?
The City could be forced to find at least $11 million to purchase the property, demolish the buildings, and build a park. That is almost double the current recreation and park budget in Alameda. The Federal Government could also keep the property and allow the buildings to become blighted, or they could move forward with a lease to the Alameda Point Collaborative. Any of these outcomes will result in significant costs to the community and a delay or denial of services to homeless in dire need. Anyway you look at it, B is Bad.
Where does the City Council stand?
A supermajority of the council passed the ordinance removing the G overlay on the property, and approved putting measure A on the ballot.
I have additional questions. How can I learn more?
If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to the Yes on A and No on B campaign by emailing email@example.com.