• Veronica Van Gogh

Sanctioned homeless camp pilot program approved in Berkeley this week

Harrison’s proposal asks the city manager to consider amenities in the new “outdoor shelter” such as “climate-controlled, wind-resistant durable tents with wooden pallets for support”; portable toilets and handwashing stations; shower and sanitation services; garbage pickup and needle disposal; and an agency to manage the program, which would be open 24 hours a day.

The camp won’t be set up until staff returns to council with suggestions for an appropriate location, a detailed plan and any needed municipal code changes, an updated budget and a “good neighbor” policy for how the camp will work and run.

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The program would have a staff of two site managers and two housing coordinators, but there will be no money for housing available for campers.

The original proposal suggested one location for the camp, below the University Avenue overpass at Second Street, but said staff should consider other places too. Tuesday night, Harrison said other options might be the public right-of-way on Second Street north of Cedar Street, as well as the marina. Some questions came up last week about whether the city actually owned the land at University and Second, but staff confirmed Tuesday that it does.

As the city considers where to set up the new camp, which will have room for 50 tents and a suggested stay of 180 days.

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