Part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the form of two new programs in Alameda County: the Berkeley Respite Program and Project Safer Ground. The goal of both programs is to provide people experiencing homelessness with a safe place to shelter in place. Priority is given to people experiencing homelessness who are 65+ years of age and/or those with pre-existing medical conditions who are at risk of complications if exposed to the COVD-19 virus. Clients in both programs can stay in the hotel rooms until the pandemic is over, or until they achieve permanent housing.
The Berkeley Respite Program has been active since June 22, 2020. It is a partnership with the City of Berkeley to oversee and maintain 18 RV trailers and one single-family home. The RVs are at two separate locations in Berkeley, 701 Harrison Street and 1281 University Avenue.
BFHP provides case management and operational services, including: daily wellness checks, the delivery of three meals a day, coordination of laundry services twice a week, and the provision of hygiene and cleaning supplies.
Project Safer Ground, in operation since July 20, 2020, is a partnership with Alameda County, to utilize 69 hotel rooms at the Rodeway Inn and Quality Inn in Berkeley. Rooms are available to people experiencing homelessness in Berkeley, Emeryville and Albany. All individuals in the hotel rooms were previously living outside or in vehicles.
Both programs are being overseen by Program Manager, Michael Hodges. He and his team provide support and services to people staying in the RVs, single-family home, and hotels, as well as working with each client individually to find permanent, sustainable housing.