Moving

Bay Space Tasks to Discover Housing for the Homeless Rating Successes – CBS San Francisco

SAN LEANDRO (KPIX) – Over the past three years, the KPIX Project Home team has profiled dozens of Bay Area homeless residents. At the end of 2021, we set out to track down some of them to see how they fare.

There is some good news about a homeless couple we first met in 2018. Your story could be a sign that billions of federal and state funds pouring into helping the homeless are starting to make a difference.

“Today we pick up our keys for our house, our apartment!” Said Kymberli Wilson. We had never seen her, her husband Lenton and their dog Mokka so happy. “It doesn’t feel like it’s real,” added Lenton Wilson.

The Wilsons in their new apartment. (CBS)

After four years without a home, they wanted to collect the keys to a permanent two-room apartment.

“There is a lot of weight being lifted, a lot of fear. What’s the word – it’s overwhelming, ”said Kymberli.

We first met the Wilsons on 77th Avenue in East Oakland when they lived in a creative tent collection, complete with a kitchen, pantry, working shower, and cable TV hookup that comes in and out with every BART train that goes by ran out of .

Looking back, they say it wasn’t fun.

“We had the rat carpet under our pallets. We could feel them at night, ”said Kymberli.

They learned to deal with the cold, with violence and the constant need for a roof and a real bed.

“You walk past other people’s houses and see them in the house and you just have to keep walking because you have no place to lie down,” Lenton said.

Then one day about a year and a half ago an offer came that would get her off the street. The Wilsons were among the first to move into one of 67 new trailers at Operation HomeBase, a trailer park for homeless seniors set up by the City of Oakland.

When we visited them there in 2020, they were delighted with the new amenities. “We don’t have to go to the hydrant and get water in our water jugs,” said Kymberli at the time.

It took a year and a half, but the program eventually resulted in an emergency housing voucher and eventually permanent housing.

The Wilsons aren’t the only success stories here.

“Half of the people who started here have moved on to permanent housing,” said Darin Lounds, executive director of the East Bay Housing Consortium, which runs Operation Homebase.

He says 75 people have left HomeBase since it opened in Spring 2020.

“Watching someone sign a lease and get the keys is the best time for anyone in this job,” said Lounds.

He said the biggest help this year will be $ 5 billion government emergency housing vouchers for the homeless that guarantee a lifetime subsidized rent. “Without this voucher, your options for permanent living would be extremely limited,” said Lounds.

But even billions of dollars can only do so much. “The waiting list is getting longer,” said Chelsea Andrews, executive director of EveryOne Home, a nonprofit that monitors, among other things, the current number of homeless people in Alameda County.

At the last census in January 2019 before COVID, the group counted 8,000 homeless people in the county, half of them in Oakland. For the next census in January 2022, Andrews predicts the numbers will likely be much higher.

“I coined a saying that this count counts more than any other count before it. Taking all circumstances into account – the economic downturn – we expect homelessness to increase across the country, ”Andrews said.

Kymberli and Lenton Wilson know that they are among the lucky ones. We caught up with her at Operation HomeBase when she was packing and pulling out her motorhome. Then we followed them to their new apartment in San Leandro. “I get goose bumps every time I come in here,” said Kymberli.

Your favorite room is the kitchen.

“We both like to cook. We didn’t have a stove or oven in the trailer, so we cooked on hot plates, ”said Kymberli.

Her advice to friends still living on the streets: be patient, but stay focused and don’t give up.

“It’s in your head from the time you hit the street, think about that day right here,” Lenton said.

The Wilsons have one more piece of advice: even if you’re homeless, don’t stop working. They advertise gardening and house cleaning on NextDoor and were recently voted a favorite in the neighborhood.

WEB LINKS

Project Home special area

EveryOne Home hopes people will get involved in preparing for the January 2022 homeless census in Alameda County.

Homeless Resources in Oakland: http://oaklandca.gov/topics/housing-resource-center

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