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Livermore considers property to build treatment facility for homeless

LIVERMORE – On the Livermore City Council's consent calendar Monday night is a resolution authorizing the spending of $2.4 million in city affordable housing trust funds to buy the property at 2346 Walnut St. for a substance abuse disorder (SUD) and medication assistance treatment (MAT) facility for the unhoused.

The money would go to Housing Consortium of the East Bay (HCEB), to develop the project.

Substance use disorder was talked about in January 2022 at the council's subcommittee on homelessness meeting. The subcommittee discussed medium and long-term strategies within the homeless strategy framework.

The subcommittee recommended staff continue to engage Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services to address the gap in substance use disorder and medication assistance treatment services in the Tri-Valley. 

According to a staff report for Monday's meeting, "staff has identified the lack of inpatient drug and alcohol treatment services in the Tri-Valley as a major barrier to providing unsheltered residents the services they need. Currently, there are no inpatient drug and alcohol treatment services for the unsheltered in the Tri-Valley. The closest sober/detox inpatient facility, Cherry Hill, which is a 50-bed sobering and 32-bed detox facility, is located in San Leandro. Often, the city's homeless liaison officers and/or nonprofit partners transport the unsheltered to the facility only to find there is no longer space available."

Staff is recommending the city provide HCEB up to $2.4 million in short-term financing from the city's affordable housing trust fund to cover acquisition costs of $2.1 million and predevelopment expenses

of $300,000. Activities to be funded through the loan include testing, development feasibility analysis, architectural design costs, and administration expenses. 

HCEB has negotiated a purchase agreement with the owner and will act as the site holder until the city can identify a well-qualified nonprofit service provider with experience in providing SUD and MAT services for low-income and unhoused residents. 

Once a provider is identified the site will be transferred from HCEB to the service provider who will develop, own, and manage the site.

The site is located at the corner of Walnut Street and Junction Avenue, most recently occupied by Victory Baptist Church. There are two buildings, a main sanctuary and a modular office, situated on a 16,552 square foot triangular block in a residential neighborhood, surrounded by streets with no immediate adjacent neighbors. 

The modular building includes a full kitchen, bath and shower. The larger sanctuary building includes classroom and office space. There are 20 striped parking spots onsite. 

"Staff finds the property and location characteristics make the site a good candidate for a treatment center," the report says. "Alameda County has begun looking at expanding behavioral health and substance abuse services to parts of the County that don't have existing facilities and services. The Behavioral Health Department has identified East County as one of their priority areas to expand services. Staff has discussed this site with Alameda County Behavioral Health staff and Supervisor Haubert's Office. Both support the acquisition and use of this site to provide these services to the Tri-Valley."

The report also says the city housing trust fund monies used for the project "are expected to be replaced by the state."

                   The Livermore City Council meets virtually at 7 p.m. and can be watched at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82412447966 or on the city's YouTube channel.  

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