“Keep Oakland Housed” Prevents Nearly 5,000 Oakland Households From Losing Their Homes
Program’s impact over two years underlines the need to sustain its critical services
Contact: Ling Woo Liu, San Francisco Foundation
OAKLAND, January 15, 2021—In its first two years of operations, Keep Oakland Housed has served nearly 5,000 households that were in a housing crisis and facing eviction, displacement, or imminent homelessness. The program has also provided more than $9 million in emergency financial assistance to date. A new report, released today, analyzes the impact of the pilot program’s model, services, and advocacy — and calls for additional resources to sustain the innovative model. View a recording of today’s press conference.
“Keep Oakland Housed prevents homelessness from happening,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “In just two years we’ve stopped 5,000 households from sliding into the traumatic cycle of homelessness, and now we call on our state and federal partners to scale up Oakland’s innovative pilot. We cannot ‘charity’ our way out of this crisis; we must build the permanent structures within our public institutions to stop homelessness from happening in the first place — and we’ve just created the road map to do it.”
Keep Oakland Housed was launched in 2018 to prevent homelessness and displacement among households with extremely low incomes. The program offers legal, financial, and supportive services, and is a citywide, collaborative effort between nonprofits, donors and public officials who are passionate about preventing homelessness in Oakland.
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the program expanded beyond renters facing eviction to also serve non-leaseholders who are at risk of becoming homeless, including people who are doubled up with other households, or staying in temporary locations. Keep Oakland Housed and other housing advocates also mobilized other to pressure elected officials to halt evictions. As a result, Alameda County passed a groundbreaking eviction moratorium – one of the strongest in the state – and the state passed AB 3088, which helped keep 16 million California renters housed and able to safely shelter in place.
“Knowing that my daughter is okay and that we have a place to call home gives me peace of mind,” says Marquisse Moore, who lost his job and home last year due to the pandemic. In November, Keep Oakland Housed helped pay his deposit and first month’s rent, enabling Mr. Moore and his daughter to move into an apartment in East Oakland. He is working full time for Alameda County now. “I wouldn’t be housed without Keep Oakland Housed.”
The program’s strong infrastructure and proven approach to preventing evictions and homelessness allowed it to quickly raise additional funding this year, both from donors and from the federal CARES Act, and deploy these dollars to help households on the brink of homelessness. New donations helped the program expand in neighborhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19. To ensure that Asian, Black and Latinx residents could access services, Keep Oakland Housed also began partnering with East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Roots Community Health Center, and the Unity Council.
Keep Oakland Housed has partnered with Social Policy Research Associates to generate evidence-based learning about homelessness in Oakland and beyond. Recognizing the need to sustain its critical services well beyond the end of its three-year pilot phase in October 2021, Keep Oakland Housed is eager to connect with additional funders and individual donors. With this type of evidence-based program, public policies to protect residents from becoming homeless, public and private funding, we can ensure that everyone in Oakland has a place to call home.
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Keep Oakland Housed is a public-private partnership with the office of Mayor Libby Schaaf and the City of Oakland. It is operated by three nonprofit agencies: Bay Area Community Services (BACS), Catholic Charities East Bay, and East Bay Community Law Center. Keep Oakland Housed is funded by Kaiser Permanente, Crankstart, the San Francisco Foundation, the federal CARES Act, and additional donors, to support residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The San Francisco Foundation also serves as the administrator of the program. Information about the program is available on 211, on KeepOaklandHoused.org, and on materials distributed by each agency.