Hayward approves $3M homeless center; local CEO calls homeless ‘people we don’t want’

Like everywhere in the East Bay, homelessness in Hayward is a growing problem. According to a recent census, more than 300 Hayward residents are without shelter on any given night. But a one-year pilot program based on a model used in Berkeley aims to alleviate at least some of the problem, despite several jaw-dropping comments by two Hayward CEOs who disparaged the less fortunate.

The Hayward City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the creation of a Housing Navigation Center on Whitesell Street and Depot Road, costing $3 million in various state funding sources for the first year. The expenditure includes $2.5 million in annual operating costs and $500,000 in one-time start-up spending, the city said.

The facility, which could open sometime next winter, will be able to provide various services, including shelter, rehab, and rapid re-housing, to roughly 45 homeless Hayward residents. The city is currently seeking an operator for the future facility, which is based on the Berkeley’s Pathways STAIR Center that opened last summer.

While future funding is somewhat uncertain, Hayward Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott said, the city is fairly confident former Gov. Jerry Brown’s outlay of $500 million in emergency funding for the homeless will continue under Gov. Gavin Newsom, based on his recent comments. Under Brown’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), Hayward received in $1.77 million in local funds.

The CEO of Pucci Foods in Hayward said the homeless navigation center will ‘bring people we don’t want’ to the area.

One impetus for moving quickly on the navigation center is those funds must be spent by the city before June 2021. Competition in Alameda County for HEAP funds has been fierce.

Last December, it revealed a rift between Oakland, the largest city in the county, and perhaps the city facing the most daunting task with homelessness, versus neighboring cities which claimed Oakland was seeking more than their fair share of HEAP funding. If Hayward does not act, said Ott, Oakland will surely seek those funds.

Another reason for the program is a recent federal court ruling that bars municipalities from clearing out homeless encampments if there is no other shelter space available in the city. Hayward currently has only two shelters.

The prospect of a homeless center coming to the area, however, was met with distasteful public comments from at least two local businesses located nearby.lam chris

Chris Lam (pictured, right), the President of CEO of Pucci Foods, a wholesaler on Industrial Boulevard, said he was concerned about the “side-effects” of the project. The homeless navigation center risked “bringing in people we don’t want,” said Lam.

He later repeated the phrase, during his public comments Tuesday before warning the center will attract more homeless to the “neighborhood that we are proud of.” Lam is a member of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce executive board, according to his company’s website.

Wei Qi, the CEO of Encyclogen, located on Cabot Boulevard, displayed a bag of used needles he claims was left by the homeless on his property. The center’s proposed 45 clients, said Wei, might overwhelm his parking lot. Later, he told the council that he suspects a “homeless party” was thrown recently on his property.


8 thoughts on “Hayward approves $3M homeless center; local CEO calls homeless ‘people we don’t want’

  1. Pamela, the Homeless Union members like the Police Officers, Firemen and so on as well as the overpaid Doctors overspent in their productive lives, saved little and have earned all their just desserts. The Doctors over medicated themselves and the others wasted their lives not caring about the pain they caused others. They have all earned their place under the table and on the streets. They are human and the Good Lord will welcome their place at Her Table. God will pay their way, not us taxpayers.


  2. What people dont understand, is these homeless people are not homeless by choice. Alot of the ones I have met, are over 60 years old, they used to have jobs like police officer, dr, fireman, and so forth. When the could no longer work, they could not afford there home anymore. It can happen to any one of us. I never met any one that was unkind or deserved what life has thrown at them. The problem is, the cost of housing, the cost to just survive. No one immune. You can have the most beautiful house in the county one day, and be in the streets the next. They just need help with affordable housing. I’m not saying there arent drug attics, and thieves out there, but they need help as well. We are all human!


  3. I am a resident of Hayward who lives near the site of the new “homeless” housing. Let me clear the air for you. Out of the 247 micro apartments the are building, only 20 to 31 of those apartments will go to the homeless. The rest are going to low to extremely low income. I have been to every board and City board meeting they have had on this development. The sad part is they city officials are lying to you. The project is being built under a company called Abode. Abode is under a bigger corporation called CASA. Which board members are city and county board members and other government members among other companies etc. Abode gets money from Frederal and State funds. They majority is from the taxes paid by us the tax payer. Abode in returns buys the property with tax payers money but now they own the property. They build, manage, every aspect of the project. They will charge anywhere from $300 to $1000 rent per month depending. Which Abode will pocket. This issue goes so much deeper than what I have just explained. The bottom line. THIS PROJECT IS NOT HELPING THE HOMELESS PEOPLE OF HAYWARD OR FROM ANYWHERE ELSE. It is just a money grab. And the local city Counsel members and co to use up the chain will be the only ones who benefit from it.


  4. Perhaps the Homeless should be granted free access to Restorative Services, giving them unrestricted and free access to counseling, job training, housing, legal, medical, mental health, substance abuse programs operated by Alameda County. No funding increases for the homeless but just for the county agencies that support the program. 240 Million Dollars plus the 3 Million would certainly make it a lot easier for the Homeless to actually get out of the streets and on to success in life and become a credit to our county.


  5. Last year Alameda County received a 240 million dollar federal grant to combat homelessness: where is the rest of the money?… because this is just a chicken scratch. Yep, local politicians are so morally bankrupt they even steal money from the homeless.


  6. Only for a small number is the lack of money the sole issue; and for them, transitional housing like the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition (FESCO) is already available — and more is needed. Those facing chronic homelessness need supportive (restorative) services (medical, legal, job training, counseling, etc.) in addition to transitional housing. This facility intends to meet that need.


  7. $3,000,000.00 in aid to 300 homeless folks pencils out at $10,000 per person/$833.00 per month. Just given them the cash each month. Let them work it out. Let the city co-sign on notes for them to buy or rent if necessary. At present plans all that money is just going to infrastructure not to those in need.


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