Nearly 500 families won’t become homeless, thanks to new Oakland housing program

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Mercury News – By Marisa Kendall

OAKLAND — The $9 million homelessness prevention program Oakland launched last year has succeeded in keeping nearly 500 families off the streets so far, a city spokeswoman said Tuesday.

From July through December, the new Keep Oakland Housed initiative provided legal and financial help to 473 households at risk of eviction, allowing them to keep their homes, get an extension before moving out or secure money for relocation, according to a city news release. Mayor Libby Schaaf formally launched the program in October in answer to the homelessness crisis gripping the city as home and rental prices skyrocket. The idea was to give families a leg up before they became homeless — while the city was spending money on rapid re-housing and other services for the already-homeless, little had been done to prevent the problem.

So far, it’s working as intended, said Karen Erickson, director of housing services for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, one of three local organizations facilitating the program.

“All the agencies are on track to exceed our goals,” she said.

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