Abel’s eNews: A busy year, great projects and holiday wishes

This year is almost over, and beginning in January, you will have a new Councilmember for District 2. My team and I are saddened that we will not be able to continue our current work on your behalf, but we are grateful for the opportunity to have helped make substantial, forward-looking improvements for Oakland and have laid the groundwork for many other important projects that will come to fruition in the coming year. Continue reading

Community Benefit Agreements in Council District 2

Community Benefit Agreements in Council District 2prepared by Councilmember Abel Guillén Taken together, the recent housing developments in District 2 have established a pattern of collaborative consensus-building, and can provide guidance for future developers in their project planning and community engagement. These types of community benefits on a private development are a testament to the hard work everybody put into the negotiation process... Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Preventing homelessness, fighting illegal dumping, public land policy, improving streets/parks, Lake cleaning crews, Chinatown safety

Preventing Homelessness Is a First-Step MeasureLast week, the City launched its “Keep Oakland Housed” program to help prevent residents from losing their housing and support those living in temporary housing and the City Council also voted to expand our winter shelter beds so they will serve homeless residents year-round. We allocated $300,000 for a safe-parking program in partnership with the faith community as one of the many emergency responses to homelessness in our city. Continue reading

Abel’s news: Addressing homelessness in Oakland, a look at progress over the past year

Homelessness and housing affordability is the number one issue affecting Oaklanders. Throughout the state, there are an estimated 134,000 people who are homeless – and millions of Californians are increasingly housing-insecure. This is a regional, state and nationwide problem, with no help in sight from the federal government. That is why the City Council has taken a position in support of Proposition 1, which would provide $4 billion for affordable housing for families, seniors and veterans. As your Councilmember, I have also worked hard to champion innovative local approaches such as “tiny homes” made in Oakland by Laney students and funding cleaning teams of unsheltered individuals around Lake Merritt to immediate, temporary actions like cabin villages and navigation centers with wraparound support services to longer-term strategies like implementing my new Public Lands Policy that prioritizes affordable housing. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: More improvements at San Antonio Park, neighborhood meetings in October, ideas for infrastructure projects, update on street repairs

Update on More Improvements at San Antonio Park - Our work to improve San Antonio Park continues. The track around the soccer field has been refreshed with decomposed granite and looks great. We hope to have the new bathrooms installed beginning next week. I’m working on securing funds to fix the soccer field and dilapidated tennis courts as our next step. If you would like to help: Sarah Ting, sting@oaklandca.gov Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Cabins for the unsheltered around Lake Merritt open

Cabins for Homeless around Lake Merritt Open - The 20 shelter cabins on the Kaiser Auditorium parking lot are up, with the electrical and insulation work now completed. Some of the new residents began moving in this week – 21 are there already. City staff are inviting the unsheltered around Lake Merritt to join the cabin village by zones and expect the cabins to be completely occupied soon. City staff and service providers gave the community a tour of the cabins before the move-in. The cabins do THREE important things to help Oakland take another small, emergency step to help people who have no shelter: (1) They provide emergency, temporary shelters that are safer, healthier places than tents in the park or under bridges. (2) They provide a central place that will help connect residents to support services, connections to health, mental health and addiction-recovery services, and job opportunities. The site will also connect mainstream services such as MediCal, food stamps, GA and SSI. (3) They offer a place – a temporary bridge – where we can help people get into more stable living conditions and permanent housing. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Homeless shelter/services, more housing around Lake Merritt BART, more school-crossing guards, Cultural Plan unveiled

I love Oakland. And I’ve worked very hard the last four years as Councilmember to help create a healthier, safer and equitable city. Like other Bay Area cities, Oakland is dealing with a deep housing-affordability and homelessness crisis. It will take a regional comprehensive package of strategies to solve the problem – the faster, the better. We know we have more work to do. This week, I will be scheduling my public lands policy – which I have been working on community members and City staff for the past two years – to the City Council. If passed, this framework will bring greater transparency, improve public notice and input, and prioritize affordable-housing development in City decisions about the use of Oakland’s public land. My hope is that these new policy guidelines will be approved by the full Council next month. Oakland faces many challenges but, with your continued support and engagement, I know we can make a real difference to continue to move Oakland forward. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: Updates about addressing homelessness, safety improvements on Foothill Blvd., senior housing development

Community Day of Action Revitalizes San Antonio Park - Last Saturday, our community “day of action” brought together neighbors, City staff and my friends in Oakland’s building trades to complete a big list of much-needed improvements to revitalize San Antonio Park. In just a few hours, the team rewired the lights on the basketball courts, installed a new water-hydration station, installed a brand-new slide, painted the swings and play structures, refreshed the track around the soccer field, patched concrete steps, added new concrete blocks to the retaining wall, replaced broken tables, gave benches, tables and fences a fresh coat of paint, installed new nets for the soccer goals, added mulch around tree basins, removed weeds on the tennis courts, picked up trash, raked leaves, and removed graffiti. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: A Community Day of Action | Revitalizing San Antonio Park

Community Day of Action Revitalizes San Antonio Park - Wow! Our community “day of action” that brought together neighbors, City staff and my friends in Oakland’s building trades last Saturday was a huge success. We blitzed through a big list of much-needed improvements to revitalize San Antonio Park. Continue reading

Abel’s eNews: San Antonio Park Day of Action, Section 8 rental incentives, Ceasefire success, HAWK beacons

Incentives to Keep and Maintain Section 8 Affordable Housing - We all see the cranes going up, so we know there is construction of new housing underway (6,652 units being built right now). Yet, it’s a little harder to see the smaller things we’re doing on the ground level to protect existing residents from displacement. Six months after launching the innovative “Owners Benefit Program,” the first of its kind in the country, City officials have reported nearly doubling the number of Oakland’s Section 8 households over the same time last year. Since the program began in January, 682 new households have leased apartments through the Section 8 program in Oakland. The program includes a new set of incentives to attract private property owners to the Section 8 program, Oakland’s largest affordable-housing program, including a $500 signing bonus, up to $2,500 in interest-free loans for property repairs and upgrades, and up to two months paid rent to maintain the unit for Section 8 housing (instead of putting it on the open market). To date, 75 new property owners have signed up, with 64 receiving the two months-paid rent to keep their units on the Section 8 market. More than 500 units have received a free inspection to bring them up to Section 8 code. At the time of the announcement, there was only one unit of Section 8 housing available to a long waiting list of families in Oakland. Today, there are 100 available units. I want to encourage property owners interested in the Section 8 program to call: Oakland Housing Authority, Leased Housing Department Owner Services Division, 510-587-2118. Continue reading