Contact: Ling Woo Liu, San Francisco Foundation
OAKLAND, February 3, 2020—In its first 15 months of operations, Keep Oakland Housed has helped prevent more than 2,100 Oakland households, which represent more than 4,000 individuals, from becoming homeless.
Keep Oakland Housed services are available to Oakland residents who are at risk of losing their housing. Priority is given to extremely low-income households. Legal representation is also available for tenants with an active eviction lawsuit.
The program is operated by three nonprofit agencies: Bay Area Community Services (BACS), Catholic Charities East Bay, and East Bay Community Law Center. Its services include emergency financial assistance and legal representation. Keep Oakland Housed is funded by Kaiser Permanente, Crankstart and the San Francisco Foundation. The San Francisco Foundation also serves as the administrator of the program. The program works in partnership with the office of Mayor Libby Schaaf and the City of Oakland.
“My daughter and I have lived in the Bay Area all our lives,” says a 77-year-old Oakland resident, who sought Keep Oakland Housed services this past year, and who prefers to remain anonymous. “My family and I found ourselves falling on hard times. Our landlord forced us to move out before we were able to find stable housing. We had no one to turn to and no money to afford the move-in deposit or our first month’s rent. We were going to be homeless. At my wits’ end, I was told to look into Catholic Charities [which is part of Keep Oakland Housed]. That’s when my hope was restored because we were no longer going to be homeless.”
Oakland is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. In the midst of this, Keep Oakland Housed launched in 2018 as an innovative way of keeping Oakland residents in their homes. The program is halfway through its three-year pilot period and has already learned a great deal about the needs in this city, and how to best support its residents.
After evaluating its impact during its first year of operations, Keep Oakland Housed today announces that the program will now focus on residents with extremely low incomes (0-30 percent Area Median Income). The program has now expanded its service population to include residents who are living in cars, on couches, renters who have housing vouchers, lease holders with eviction notices, and those without rental leases who are at immediate risk of becoming homeless.
Keep Oakland Housed is allowing residents to continue living in the neighborhoods they call home. According to the Bay Area Equity Atlas, a tool that provides disaggregated equity data for the nine-county Bay Area, communities of color in Oakland face a greater housing burden versus white residents (60 percent versus 40 percent) and greater threats of gentrification compared to white communities (41 percent versus 21 percent). Keep Oakland Housed hopes to expand its services to support additional residents that are at high risk of displacement.
Data from the first 12 months of operations (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) for Keep Oakland Housed provide a snapshot of Oakland’s urgent housing needs:
Types of Services
- Legal Services: 1,014 households received housing legal services, more than double the number — 400 — that the program aimed to serve per year with legal services.
- 46 percent of households sought legal advice to address three-day eviction notices, 27 percent sought eviction defense services, and the remaining 27 percent sought other housing services.
- 51 percent of households that received eviction defense services had successful outcomes. 45 percent had an ongoing/pending outcome. Three percent had an unsuccessful or unknown outcome.
- Financial Assistance: 779 households received emergency financial assistance, more than triple the number — 250 — that the program aimed to serve per year with financial assistance.
- Participant Composition: Individuals made up 49 percent of the participant base, families made up 48 percent, and 3 percent were unknown.
- Race/Ethnicity: 62 percent of participants were Black/African American, 12 percent white, 9 percent Latinx, 3 percent Asian American/Pacific Islander, and 14 percent multiple races or other.
- Gender: 62 percent of participants were women, 30 percent men, and 8 percent unknown/other.
- Income Level: 63 percent of participants had extremely low incomes (0-30 percent Area Median Income) and 20 percent of participants had low incomes (30-50 percent Area Median Income) and 18 percent unknown/other.
- Neighborhoods served: Keep Oakland Housed has served people living throughout Oakland, with 39 percent of participants residing in East Oakland, and 35 percent in the downtown area.
Information about Keep Oakland Housed services is available on 211, on KeepOaklandHoused.org, and on materials distributed by each agency.
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