A homeless encampment of more than 40 individuals under the freeway in Castro Valley will soon be cleared by CalTrans workers. In the aftermath, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley foresees a scattering of homeless individuals the unincorporated areas that he believes constitutes an emergency disaster declaration.
Earlier this month, Miley, who represents unincorporated Castro Valley, pressed staff to use county resources and move quickly in finding help and temporary lodging for the soon-to-be displaced individuals.
“People are living in the creeks. People are polluting the creeks,” Miley said. “It’s a public health issue. It’s an environmental issue. It’s a humanitarian issue.”
Miley believes that by declaring emergency the county can work faster in addressing the problem in Castro Valley and surrounding areas. “Meanwhile, we’re spinning our wheels. I’m sorry if people are offended by that. I’ve been talking to folks about this for years,” he said.
Alameda County Counsel Donna Ziegler said the standard definition of a disaster emergency typically includes some type of sudden, unforeseen incident. The homeless issue is not new, she added.
Miley disagreed, saying the abatement of the camp is the unexpected incident creating the emergency. “You guys are the attorney. You know where I want to go with this. Figure it out,” he told Ziegler.
The Alameda Country Sheriff’s Department and CalTrans recently abated a different homeless encampment camp containing roughly 30 people. This second encampment to be cleared is ensconced, virtually unseen, under the freeway at Center Street and Grove Way. Most the of property belong to CalTrans, but a portion is also county land.
In Castro Valley, First Presbyterian Church on Grove Way has been working on the front lines by providing a help with homeless in the area. The church offers parking for individuals who sleep in their car and also provides a warmer center during the winter months. Furthermore, a Homeless Navigation Center is slated to open on Fairmont Drive in late 2020.