ALBANY -- Two more residents of the Albany Bulb have been moved into housing, the city announced. That brings the total of Bulb residents moved into housing to nine, minus two people who subsequently lost their housing over issues with their dog.
The city has contracted with Berkeley Food and Housing Project and Solano Community Church to work with the Bulb residents, providing various services and helping them transition to stable housing.
The program is part of a plan by the city to remove the homeless encampments on the Bulb so the land can be transferred to the East Bay Regional Park District and be made part of the Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.
The city has also set up a temporary shelter at the waterfront. The shelter has a capacity of 30 but generally has only been used by one to three people per night.
There were an estimated 60 people living on the Bulb last spring, when the City Council voted to begin enforcing the city's anti-camping ordinance and also set up the transition program. Enforcement was supposed to begin in October, with the idea of clearing the Bulb before the rainy winter began. That was delayed until December because of slow progress in transitioning Bulb residents to housing.
A lawsuit was also filed by Bulb residents and their advocates. A temporary restraining order was denied, but the suit continues and a hearing date has not been set. One of the issues in the lawsuit concerns questions about whether the temporary shelter complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city announced in December that it was processing the requests of 32 campers seeking accommodations for their disabilities.
Albany police are currently citing campers for violating park rules and some Bulb residents have been arrested for drug possession and outstanding warrants. But according to City Clerk Nicole Almaguer, Albany has not cleared any campsites beyond ones removed two months ago that the city said were camps of people who had been housed.
Some advocates for the encampment claimed the campsites that were removed belonged to people who had not been housed.