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BOSS' Efforts to Address the Housing Crisis and the Importance of the Eviction Moratorium in Alameda

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

In recent years, the housing crisis in Alameda County has reached new heights, with thousands of families and individuals facing eviction and homelessness. In response, organizations like BOSS have been working tirelessly to provide much-needed housing services and support to those in need.


The Impact of Homelessness on Marginalized Communities in Alameda County

BOSS Food Run - Downtown Oakland

Homelessness is a complex issue that affects a wide range of people, but it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. In Alameda County, Black, brown, LGBTQ+, foster youth, justice-system involved individuals, and people with disabilities are most affected by homelessness. The lack of affordable housing, coupled with systemic barriers that prevent these groups from accessing critical resources and opportunities, has created a crisis of homelessness that is both devastating and persistent.


For marginalized communities, the impact of homelessness goes beyond the loss of a home. It can lead to a range of negative consequences, including poor health outcomes, social isolation, and limited access to educational and economic opportunities. Homelessness can also exacerbate existing systemic injustices, such as discrimination and poverty, which further contribute to the marginalization of these communities.



How We're Making a Difference in the Community


BOSS has been at the forefront of the fight for housing justice in Alameda County for over 50 years. We recognize the unique challenges faced by marginalized communities in Alameda County, and we work to provide targeted services and support to help these groups obtain and maintain stable housing.


Through BOSS' Housing Security program, we provide a range of services, including emergency shelter, low-cost housing options, and support for independent living. Our goal is to help our unhoused neighbors obtain and maintain permanent housing so they can live with stability and security. We work with marginalized communities, including Black, brown, LGBTQ+, foster youth, justice-system involved individuals, people with disabilities, and more, to break the cycle of homelessness and provide a brighter future for all.

BOSS' Step Up Housing Program in Berkeley - 39 Supportive Housing Units Coming Soon.

This work requires a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. BOSS is fighting at two levels: (1) Direct services and housing creation, to expand access to housing for all those who need it, and (2) System change, fighting the underlying causes of inequity and the housing crisis, by sharing our data, participating in local planning, advocating for more effective policy solutions, and bringing new leaders to the table who have personal experience with homelessness.


In partnership with local developers, BOSS aims to build, reducing the number of unhoused individuals and families by 11% annually by 2025. Here's how:

  1. Develop mapping of the availability of city and county owned land

  2. Convene public/private partners to establish feasibility of acquisition land with appropriate uses

  3. Target federal, state, and local funding opportunities

  4. Develop marketing and recruiting strategies to target investors and thought partners to achieve stated goals specifically

  5. Lead with a layered approach of providing continuous service delivery, mobilizing and initiating advocacy efforts, driving policy change with legislative support, working with investors to raise funds and develop housing opportunities, spreading the message to attract others to magnify efforts

  6. Align advocacy efforts with State and Local Homeless policy efforts. Push existing efforts to be more equitable, prioritizing funding and services for people negatively impacted by policies antithetical to their well-being


The Importance of Tenant Protections: An Overview of the Eviction Moratorium


BOSS Alumni James Marbel at BOSS' New Hope Reentry House

In response to the housing crisis, Alameda County has implemented an eviction moratorium, which prevents landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent during the pandemic. This moratorium has been critical in helping to prevent further homelessness and provide stability for tenants during these challenging times.


The future of the eviction moratorium is uncertain, as discussions on its continuation have been postponed.




Currently, the policy is set to end when the county sunsets its COVID-19 emergency declaration. Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to end California’s state of emergency on Feb. 28, so it’s possible the county will follow suit. If it does, the moratorium will expire 60 days later—but Alameda County's Board of Supervisors(BOS) could also decide to change the policy at any point, regardless.


Update 03/10/2023: Alameda County’s eviction moratorium ordinance, enacted to protect tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ends 60 days after the end of the County health emergency. Legal evictions may proceed to start on April 29, 2023, and tenants who do not pay rent from April 29th onward may be at risk of eviction.


The cities of Oakland and San Leandro still have moratoria in place.


Tenants with unpaid rent accumulated during the moratorium may not be evicted for such unpaid rent, but landlords may still pursue unpaid rent in small claims court. Tenants who violated their lease for other reasons than nonpayment of rent are subject to eviction and not protected from the nonpayment of rent clause.


Tenants and property owners can go to ac-housingsecure.org for legal assistance, multi-lingual know your rights workshops, and videos, mortgage assistance, detailed information on the eviction process, FAQ's and more.


Why We Must Continue to Fight for Housing Justice


We know that the key to breaking the cycle of homelessness is providing people with the resources and support they need to obtain and maintain permanent housing. The eviction moratorium is an important step in the right direction, and it is essential that it is continued and strengthened to ensure that tenants are protected from eviction and homelessness.


Housing justice is a fundamental human right for a dignified and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, this right is often denied to many people, particularly those from marginalized communities -- far too many tenants are vulnerable to eviction and homelessness, making it challenging to maintain a stable and healthy life.

Ultimately, the fight for housing justice

is about more than just providing shelter. It's about creating a more equitable and just society, where everyone has access to the resources they need to live a fulfilling life. It's about recognizing the systemic injustices that have led to the housing crisis and working to dismantle them. It's about empowering marginalized communities and creating a brighter future for all.

By working together, we can create a world where everyone can access safe, affordable, and stable housing.


Let's make housing justice a reality for all!


 

Do you have land or buildings that could be purposed for affordable housing in our communities? If so, please get in touch with BOSS Chief Executive Officer Donald Frazier at dfrazier@self-sufficiency.org or 510-649-1930 x 1012.


BOSS programs are successful, innovative, based in evidence-based practices and proven methodologies, and emphasize lived experience: across BOSS, over 70% of staff (90% in reentry programs) have personal experience with the same issues faced by current participants.


Your donations help BOSS operate life-changing programs. THANK YOU for your generosity and support!








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