Here's where California is offering land for homeless housing

Associated Press 

Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration has set aside nearly 300 state-owned properties that may be turned into emergency housing for homeless people, half of which are in the Bay Area. The inventory was completed under an executive order that Newsom signed in January, directing four state agencies to identify excess state land that could be made available for free to local governments for short-term homeless shelters. Newsom said Wednesday during his homelessness-focused State of the State address that his administration had found 286 eligible properties, including vacant lots, fairgrounds and armories. "Those are available today," he said. "Lease templates are ready to go and we're ready for partnerships. There are 148 potential shelter sites listed in the Bay Area, including 49 in Sonoma County, 36 in Alameda County and 25 in San Mateo County. They are largely empty Caltrans-managed parcels next to state highways, many of which the state has previously identified as potential properties for affordable housing development. One is in San Francisco, next to Interstate 280 near 23rd and Indiana streets. Others include the Redwood City Armory, Napa State Hospital and the Sonoma Developmental Center. With the homeless population surging to more than 151,000 people in the latest state count, and recent polls showing that homelessness has become the top concern of California voters, Newsom is under increasing pressure to act. Because the state is merely making the vacant land available to local governments, however, there is no guarantee the sites will be used for temporary housing for homeless people. Justin Berton, a spokesman for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, said the city has no immediate plans for 18 Oakland properties in the state inventory. But he said Oakland would probably take advantage of them eventually, to expand its community cabin program, designate additional safe parking sites for people sleeping in vehicles, or set up more trailers provided by the state in the January executive order. He said the offer of excess state land is "stripping away all the bureaucracy" for cities like Oakland, which has already been leasing properties from Caltrans for minimal amounts to set up housing for homeless people. But Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said "land is the least of the problems" for communities trying to figure out how to get California's growing homeless population off the streets. He said neither of the Richmond sites identified by the state seem to meet the city's needs for homeless shelters. One appears to be in the middle of a cloverleaf interchange connecting to Interstate 80, which would require that people cross an on-ramp to reach. Butt is unsure whether the other, sandwiched between Interstate 580 and the bay, has adequate access to bus lines, grocery stores, health services and other basic amenities. You've got cars whizzing by there all the time," Butt said.

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