Home Antioch Antioch Ad-Hoc Committee Presents Homeless Encampment Recommendations

Antioch Ad-Hoc Committee Presents Homeless Encampment Recommendations

by ECT

On Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council received an update from the Homeless Encampment Ad-Hoc Committee which offered commendations for the council to consider.

The recommendations presented by committee members Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts and Councilmember Lamar Thorpe provided both immediate recommendations and more long-term solutions.

Both Motts and Thorpe used the term “unhoused residents” vs using the term “homeless”.

Motts highlights some of the challenges included human waste, needles, trash, debris and some of the immediate recommended remedies were portable restrooms, mobile showers, laundry facility, mobile or lease to rent options, sharps disposals and dumpsters for trash.

“A priority is that we identify locations for a temporary shelter,” said Motts. “

The immediate recommendations included:

  • Safe Parking Lot
  • RV/Trailer parking locations (public/private)
  • Conestoga Hut/Tuff Shed Cabins
  • Master leasing agreements with hotel/motel rooms
  • Rent fairground trailer park when not in use
  • Identify locations

Thorpe highlighted these were temporary solutions but suggested they needed permanent transitional housing.

“We need to build and develop housing villages. We can refurbish shipping containers or we can do ready build tiny homes. But the fact of matter is we just have to do something,” said Thorpe.

Motts piggybacked off that saying that agencies are spending millions of dollars and they are not helping nor are they accomplishing anything because it is simply moving people around with the situation getting worse.

One of the recommendations was also to look into hiring a “Unhoused Resident Coordinator” who would build a network/collaborative of public/private entities to help service families and individuals. Coordinate a plan/response to public health concerns and work with city staff as needed. Develop a plan for temporary shelter and safety and work on a delivery for a successful transitional/permanent housing program.

Prior to getting into the recommendations, Motts and Thorpe provided an overview their 4-committee meetings with different groups where they sought to gain public testimony.

Councilman Lamar Thorpe highlighted their findings over their 4-meetings including noting that there isn’t a comprehensive coordination for Antioch to address the issue while saying the proposed care center will not solve the homeless issue.

“There are some public health challenges that I think we need to address and not as a joke. These are serious issues,” said Thorpe. He alter highlighted how this didn’t just happen, but was a “confluence of things” in federal policy that has not funded this issue.

Thorpe challenged the community to visit the County Shelter and visit with local homeless while being critical of people who have opinions online but fail to participate.

“One of the things that really blew me away was for those who have a lot to say and have the loudest voices, we created this very transparent committee and none of them showed up,” explained Thorpe. “None of those loud on Facebook showed up. And I expected to see them there, but they didn’t show up. This is more to the big heart that our community has to addressing challenges than to listening to clowns on social media.”

Motts explained they invited the business community to provide feedback which highlighted trash issues, broken sprinklers and breaking junction boxes which created all types of expenses for buildings that had homeless encampment around them.

Motts also highlighted how businesses have had to shut down bathrooms –specifically Corteva and the Somersville Towne Center Mall.

Thorpe added how speaking to businesses was a learning opportunity for him regarding an incident at G Street Mercantile after an incident occurred and the police were called.

“He called the police and the police came and the police officer says, Oh, you know, we know so and so, not a big deal. He’s not a threat to anybody. And I would have thought the same thing. And Michael says, well, he may not be a threat to that, but he’s a threat to my livelihood because now this person isn’t coming back and, and I gotta eat,” explained Thorpe. “You get, we re you got to look at all this from, from many different frames to really understand how the impact that this is having… So we take for granted little things like that where for us it may, oh well he’s not a threat to me or anybody, but he’s a threat to this person’s livelihood. So that was, that was important to kind of learn and then to learn that the extent in damage that property managers have to go through.”

The Task Force set out to seek testimony from regional, county and city agencies, community-based organizations, homeless advocates and volunteers to build the committee’s knowledge base around the impacts of “encampments” on local communities. They also sought testimony of how to better align city services to alleviate homeless encampments on public and private property. They also wanted to see how homeless encampments were impacting business and residents.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Monica Wilson stated that the community needed to get used to saying the term “unhoused residents” versus “homeless”.

It was also reported that Contra Costa County Fire Protection said 390 fires in the county were from homeless.

The committee was established after preliminary data released from the Contra Costa Health Services which showed a 3% increase in homeless, however, over a 2-year count, there was a 43% increase. The data showed that 668 persons had shelter, while 1,627 persons went without shelters, including 3% being families and 97% single adults. A breakdown of where the homeless were located in the county is expected in June.

Meanwhile, on May 22, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a Statewide Task Force. The Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force will meet a number of times throughout the year in cities and counties around the state to observe best practices firsthand and receive input from governments and constituents statewide to propose solutions to address the homelessness epidemic.

Along with his Task Force, Newsom announced a May budget revision which included $1 billion to fight California’s homelessness crisis

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Matt Aug 28, 2019 - 11:37 am

Here is a simple solution…. Start enforcing the laws we have on the books. The vast majority of the Homeless in California have mental health issues & substance abuse issues. CA. is attracting these people due to lack of enforcement as well as free handouts. Working folks who could no longer afford living here are/ have moved to other states. The root of this problem is substance abuse. Until the politicians acknowledge this no amount of tax payer $ will solve this crisis.

Evans Aug 28, 2019 - 4:55 pm

Matt, the “vast” majority of these people are not from California. Get to speak with many of them and they’ll tell you how they were dumped here. Their home states should be charged with their upkeep, not California taxpayers! We’re being taxed to death here already!

Alex Aug 28, 2019 - 9:23 pm

Matt – That’s so true and on top of all this, Antioch has the great luck of having a METHADONE clinic located next to a residential neighborhood which enables many of these mentally ill drug users. You can run into the tweekers at Raley’s all the time. Isn’t that just terrific?

Ramona Mayon Aug 28, 2019 - 12:58 pm

I’m disappointed your article failed to mention the dire situation at 701 Wilbur Ave for the remaining tenants there. Many of us have already been removed. That would be what the owner referred to in the hearing as the “problematic tenants are gone”. I’ll probably return later to add to this, but at present, please note that in 2018, my husband and I started a lawsuit against the owner of that land (our former landlord) as well as the City of Antioch to stop the planned eviction, in order to clear for the affordable housing project “Delta Courtyard Apartments” planned for that address…just check under Project Pipeline on the City’s website. Says Approved and Awaiting Construction. Dig a bit deeper. You are missing the news here.

ECT Aug 28, 2019 - 4:27 pm

Certain city council members were not be honest last night about that property. They should know there is a lawsuit on file. I would love to talk to the owner about what he is trying to accomplish and how he helps people.

Ramona Mayon Aug 29, 2019 - 9:37 am

But first, why not watch the video hearing of 10.10.17 to see him (and the council) discuss us as “blight abatement”. That’s what the 10.10.17 staff report called us.

So really, now by this date, that is the Council hearing of 8.27.19, for us to be lumped into the “homeless problem”, well that’s actually a step up from being called “blight”, when in truth, for four-and-half years, we have been giving more than half our income to the landlord, who’s kid is in his 1st year of Stanford, as you heard him say at the hearing — that’s the landlord’s son speaking after him, telling Council they need to get creative with Code Enforcement because the poor are suffering due to all that bad policy coming out of DC — that actually made me laugh, considering that his father is being sued by an “extremely low income” elderly, sick, disabled couple for ignoring our rights under URA, that stands for Uniform Relocation Act and controls what happens when HUD money has even one LITTLE thing to do with a project.

Here, let me share the joke, all you have to do is google Greystone Investors and Delta Courtyard Apartments, 810 Wilbur Avenue, Antioch, California 94509. It’s being offered up as a fully-entitled project. Check out the documents uploaded there. You will see Community Development Director Ebbs has extended the permit for another year (for a project everyone keeps telling me has been aborted since 11.08.16).

So if there’s no project, then explain why Bosman asked for (and got) time to wait on a letter from HUD approving funding? Again, look in the PDF for 10.10.17 Council meeting, all in the public record. Ask yourself why, since he lost his appeal on 10.10.17, nearly TWO years ago, why has he been allowed by the Code Enforcement team to collect rent without a permit and illegally installed hook ups (again, public record shows all this; you can tell, can’t you, that Bosman has threated me with a SLAPP lawsuit if I said a word that defamed him – which we immediately added to our lawsuit).

Another piece of publically sourced paper, a recent ad Bosman put on Loopnet, says his rental income is $203,000 yet he can openly tell Council (in the minutes for 6.01.17, all public record) that “permits are involved and expensive”. It is all right there in the open: the mayor and the Council and the manager and the City staff’s complete disregard for us. We are invisible because we live in RVs. Because we are poor.

Be sure to go back to 11.08.16 video hearing to see the entire power point presentation from the Developer (who is also being sued for “Intentional Misrepresentation”). There was a search for the almighty burrowing owl, though, that’s documented well enough. Just did not see the 15 RV based households (down to 7 or 8 now) living there.

Additionally, you could check out the staff report to the Planning Commission of 9.02.16 calling the mobilehome park (Bosman calls it his “parcel”) a “vacant lot”, just a few days before the project “Delta Courtyard Apartments” was approved. Interestingly, the vice-chair of the Planning Commission asked Director Ebbs if housing was appropriate at that site. When there was a whole community of people already living there. Is Antioch really another name for Twilight Zone?

Our whole lawsuit (well, the part involving the City) hinges on how Councilmember Lori Ogorchock came out to tour the property on 11.08.16 (she openly says this on video and the minutes too note it – it’s all public record), same day the Developer appeared in front of Council to “appeal” a tax. Then on 1.30.17 the Code Enforcement team “discovered” the RVs in the back. We were obviously invisible that day. Or out looking for burrowing owls.

Since we are having this nice chat, you and I, do let me point out that the one the Councilmembers were calling the loudmouth behind a keyboard, who needed to show up and “participate in the solution” was me. I didn’t show up to support my former neighbors because my husband just got out of John Muir Hospital/ Walnut Creek (6 days) and he’s scheduled to be admitted to UCSF’s Liver Transplant unit on Sept 16 at 6.45 am. We are hoping he can make it at home (well, home is homeless, so by that I mean, stay at home in our RV parked on the side of Highway 4, sucking in exhaust fumes, worrying the police are gonna again raid that night). Y’all really have no idea what the police are like at 4 am, telling you to get out of “their” town, do you?

Speaking a bit to the reality of being homeless in Antioch, I tried to get CORE team to get motel vouchers for a few days after Greg got out of the hospital because the temps were past 100 and, as I keep saying to anyone who will hear me, we have no electricity. No place to go. No way to fix this. No charity will touch an RV home. No help available is all anyone can say.

Yet millions flow to the City and County coffers. The pig trough is full (of HUD money), yet people complain we sleep on “their” streets. Let me just run down some numbers for you:

Council chambers are being renovated (no clue how much and don’t even want to know).

Members voting in themselves 65% raise (for their next term is little comfort).

CDBG fund spends $600K+ on downtown curbs.

Marina is getting a $400K three stall toilet.

Ad campaign for Antioch $200K and climbing.

Yeah. While my former neighbors have to get up there and BEG for compassion to stay in their park…THEIR homes are threatened. Ours, we did things a little differently.

When we filed our lawsuit 1.26.18, we also told Bosman we weren’t paying rent anymore because he had no permit to operate a park (he has admitted this in two separate court filings … HSC 18500). We did this because we had to repair our RV, so when the hammer came down, we could get the hell out of there. It’s an old RV, 1996, fuel problems and bad tires. Roof and floor has holes (still). We did all the repair work ourselves, with only a neighbor helping my husband. We did this because all anybody said at 10.10.17 Council hearing is eviction, eviction, eviction. Very plain what their plans for us were. My husband is 67, I’m 59 next week. We are both disabled (I have Lyme Disease). Our sole income is SSI. We couldn’t just take the RV somewhere to fix it.

As soon as we complained to Court 1.26.18 about Bosman’s habitability issues, he filed UD action and we had to leave on 7.23.18 … out into the heat of summer with no electricity, on the streets of Antioch for over a year now. No electricity so I am writing briefs at the library with a really, really sick husband who needed to be in bed, not sitting upright in a hardwood chair while I study HUD rules. Oh but do be politically correct and call us “the unhoused.”

This Council creates an ad hoc committee on homelessness, all while ignoring the RADRAP signed every year that specifically says they will deal with the displaced from any federally funded projects. You get the drift.

What was illegal about this meeting was the clever way the Council built this whole meeting up around the homeless and slid “Old Wilbur Vineyards” into the mix as a solution. In truth, in LAW, the issue of “change of use” of a mobilehome park requires #1) owner to “disclose and discuss”; #2) owner to take a survey of residents being affected; #3) after owner gives survey to tenant, they can request a hearing from Council to which they must receive 15 days written notice for; #4) at this hearing, the Council “can” make demands on owner to deal with effects of displacement. Government Code 65863.7 and MRL 798.56 (g) controls the closure of any park. And then there’s the City’s own (quite recent) moratorium on changing the use of a seniors-only park. Can’t do it.

Yet on 7.31.19 bulldozers showed up and spent entire day clearing the parcel 810 Wilbur Avenue and on 8.03.19 Bosman handed everyone still left on HIS parcel a 60-day notice to leave , because poor man, he has been threatened by Code Enforcement with a $14,000 a week fine, which the Council will no doubt rescue him, so as to appear magnanimous to the voting public.

Even after being sued by us, they aren’t much worried, are they. Ask yourself, as a journalist, why is that?

As for Council not already knowing about our lawsuit, just refer to Aug Aug 13th meeting, you can see at top of the PDF, there’s an in-house discussion of it. Mayon v Bosman et al #C18-00168

I don’t think much can be done to help my husband, this has been an unbelievably brutal year for him. And once I lose him, my life is over. We’ve been married 26 years. We are one of those weird couples who spend every minute together, so we’ve really been together 126 years. I cant imagine the world with him not in it, much less be out here homeless and alone. So when he goes, I’m pretty much done, I will be out of energy for this fight, or any other. At least for awhile. Probably just take off and hike by foot across the country, something crazy and reclusive like that.

But I can promise you one thing, as a result of #C18-00168, the City will now have to recognize and (hopefully) deal properly (that is to say, by the rules) with the rest of the people left at 701 Wilbur Avenue. Greg and I can go out proud of that.

Ramona Mayon Aug 30, 2019 - 11:09 am

I forgot the most important feature of Government Code 65863.7 which is that it gives tenants six (6) months notice, not the 60 days Joe Bosman gave.

Thing is, by shuffling the issue into the ad hoc committee on homeless ENCAMPMENTS, they are sending a message to folks, many who have been homeless before. But I would warn the City Council that you can only oppress people if they agree to it.

warvet Sep 10, 2019 - 3:30 am

The city didnt slide 701 Wilbur in there these were tenant’s showing up on their own will,city didnt know they would be there, there were tenant’s that were’nt paying rents and thats the big reason they had to go,the reason they discovered the motorhomes is because of Jeff whom didnt pay rent got evicted and ratted to Code Enforcement that there were RV’s in there and thats when it all started,Joe is trying to keep the place clean and livabe (and it is) but the guy also had 45,000 ponds worth of garbage that had to be removed at owners expence,what im sayin is other than the evictions now the ones b4 had those issues which was detrimental to Joe,the property and the tenants. when i read ur story i wondered what your real reason for being evicted…. theres nothing wrong with being gypsy (Romanchal) or what ever and must suck getting booted out of places,but because u are a traveler you seem to draw law suits where ever you go,i personally know Joe and he wouldnt just kick someone out for shits and giggles but we will not dig into why u had to leave,some writers on here dont feel sorry for the tenants because they have trailers and that alone seems far from homeless on the streets but we were in the streets and spent every dime like u did to get those trailers and by the grace of god found jow who was willing to if u seemed half way decent to give a spot for a cheap rent, so we were all homeless b4 here and will be homeless again if evictions go through,well i guess we dont fit the stereotypical person sleeping in the gutter but are a step up from that,some choose to stay on the streets we dont cause we spend every dime of our disability and retirement to stay afloat in our place the only difference is is that if we leave we are spending the same money for a place on that curd.

Ramona E Mayon Sep 10, 2019 - 3:51 pm

Obviously you are one of the tenants. Go to tonight’s meeting to get your rights. Or at least go online and read the Mobilehome Residency Law.
You will then see how things are supposed to be. Get yourselves a lawyer, for crying out loud. I can self-represent but all I can (legally) tell you is you DO have rights. Go get them.

Joe evicted us 2.2.18 because we sued him 1.26.19. We quit paying him rent so we could repair our RV. He has no statutory right to take rent, even though the City has offered him time and again to legalize the park. Why not? It’s YOUR HOME. Joe’s home is legal, why isn’t YOURS? While you think you know Joe, just remembered that all this time, since this development began in 2016, the only thing he has wanted to do was DELAY evicting you, not STOP evicting you.

And you are wrong about the 8.27.19 it was planned. I was told about it Aug 4th. The only reason that this next meeting is happening, and any future ones, the ONLY reason that the tenants are being recognized is because of the work we have done in a Martinez courtroom with Mayon v. Bosman #C18-00168

Ramona E Mayon Sep 11, 2019 - 12:01 pm

Correction: we sued Joe for breach of contract on 1.26.18 and Joe filed UD action to evict us on 2.02.18

Ramona Mayon Aug 29, 2019 - 9:39 am

I left a reply on my Facebook page. The site here wouldn’t let me post it. Too long, no doubt. That’s a problem I have with my court filings too.

ECT Aug 29, 2019 - 9:54 am

It was just in the spam folder, now approved.

Ramona Mayon Aug 29, 2019 - 5:58 pm

Thank you. I already got an angry letter from one of the attorneys threatening me with filing a “malicious persecution” complaint with Judge Austin, because of it being on my FaceBook, so I am glad its actually on HERE telling the tenants’ side.

Kate Cate Aug 28, 2019 - 4:20 pm

First, these people should not be called “homeless” or “unhoused residents” — they should be called what they are, BUMS!

Second, most are not “residents” but got here from other cities or states. Our tax-dollars should not be spent on these people! We have plenty of other problem the tax revenues can address.

California has become a dumping ground for other states’ and cities’ losers, druggies, nutcases and drunks!

Third, this Ad-Hoc committee said nothing about the fires these bums are starting — at least two per week which endanger the true residents of this city.

Fourth, I seriously doubt that anyone would want to stay in a hotel or motel knowing that these people are being housed there! Those establishments would go out-of-business fast.

JOE J AMBRO Aug 30, 2019 - 12:45 pm

Exactly! But Homeless is ok to call them. But calling them unhoused residents is ridiculous. Most of them have no intentions of improving their lives. The liberals of this State have created this mess and now it is up to them to clean it up. If these guys were dumped off here, then send them back to their place of origin. That is one way to cut this population. Otherwise, we will see more needles, feces, urine, trash, fires, vandalism, nasty encampments, pollution of our creeks and river, theft, etc!

Nick Aug 30, 2019 - 3:57 pm

Even the liberals are fed up. Liberal, moderate or conservative – we’re all fed up. That being said, they’re still human beings. You have to want to change is correct, and so many of them don’t. For those who do – get your life back on track. For those who don’t, we’re all suffering the consequences.

Bob Grant Aug 28, 2019 - 5:03 pm

I would attend these type of meetings, but the last time I attended a city council meeting and said what I truly felt, the windshield of my car were smashed probably by someone who didn’t like what I said.

So, I might suggest to Ms Motts and Mr. Thorpe — Why aren’t all these “unhoused residents” congregated in Antioch simply spread out to all other cities we have here in the BAY AREA? And I mean every city is game!

This is what I would say if I attended this ad-hoc meeting! So, there!

martin nmn Aug 30, 2019 - 1:43 am

Yes! Antioch is already suffering from blight so now they are proposing communities of sheds and huts to litter the landscape even more! And then there are those “unhoused” who don’t ever want a roof over their heads.

Anonymous Aug 28, 2019 - 9:09 pm

The bullcrap euphemisms is nauseating. Unhoused, blah blah. There is a serious problem, and be real, it is mostly addiction and/or mental illness. That should be handled above all. Quit enabling these people because it is not a help, but a death sentence. I DO know because my son was in this situation and he had to become mighty uncomfortable before wanting to change.

JOE J AMBROSINO Aug 30, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Exactly! But Homeless is ok to call them. But calling them unhoused residents is ridiculous. Most of them have no intentions of improving their lives. The liberals of this State have created this mess and now it is up to them to clean it up. If these guys were dumped off here, then send them back to their place of origin. That is one way to cut this population. Otherwise, we will see more needles, feces, urine, trash, fires, vandalism, nasty encampments, pollution of our creeks and river, theft, etc!

Bum Sep 2, 2019 - 2:39 pm

Ive been homeless for a little over a year now and im trying everything i can to get outta this nightmare and without making a mess or causing problems or costing any of you tax payers any more than you already pay .im sorry that were such a nuisance and i cant speak for everyone in this situation but i know this isnt ok and i do not wake up everyday wanting to be out here and for damn sure not doing it for fun so ill pray for u sick people u all should be ashamed of who u are PATHETIC

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