The Fremont City Council held a Special City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, to consider the development of Fremont’s temporary Housing Navigation Center at either a site in the Decoto neighborhood or in the rear parking lot of Fremont’s City Hall. At the July 9, 2019 City Council Work Session, the City Council directed staff to further analyze these two sites and to conduct community outreach. Tuesday’s Special City Council meeting was well attended and approximately 200 community members spoke during the public meeting, providing input to City Council on the development of a navigation center and the two proposed finalist sites. After receiving the report from City staff and public comment, the Council unanimously approved the rear parking lot of the Fremont City Hall for the location of the temporary Housing Navigation Center.
Councilmembers selected the City Hall site based on its proximity to services, food access, and transportation. A large portion of the parking lot to the rear of City Hall will be temporarily repurposed and developed to accommodate the Housing Navigation Center. The Center will accommodate 45 unsheltered community members. Adult participants of the Housing Navigation Center can stay up to 6 months while they are supported and focused on finding stable, permanent housing. In addition to approving City Hall as the development site, City Council appropriated $1.1 million for the Housing Navigation Center’s development and operation, and authorized the City Manager to execute a multi-year services and lease agreement with Bay Area Community Services (BACS) as the Housing Navigation Center’s operator.
BACS, who also operates the Berkeley navigation center (STAIR Center), and two navigation centers in Oakland will provide 24/7 staffing and supportive services to the residents of the program. Since 2014, BACS has served a total of 1,317 people and housed 1,090 through their navigation centers in Berkeley and Oakland using the Housing Fast Support Network (HFSN) model. The creation of Fremont’s temporary Housing Navigation Center is in response to the growing homelessness crisis in Fremont and is part of a multi-pronged strategy to proactively address the current shelter emergency. Recent data from the 2019 Point-in-Time Count indicated Fremont’s homeless population grew by 27% over the past two years, rising from 479 homeless individuals to 608.
City staff plan to finalize and then submit the site plan drawings to our Building Department and outside utility agencies for review. In parallel, staff will be working with BACS on a services and lease agreement. Construction will take approximately 8-10 months, and projected occupancy of the Housing Navigation Center is anticipated for mid-2020. Community outreach will continue throughout the development of the Center including opportunities for the public to donate, volunteer, and contribute to the success of Fremont’s first Housing Navigation Center. For more information about Fremont’s temporary Housing Navigation Center and to subscribe to project updates and volunteer opportunities visit www.Fremont.gov/NavigationCenter.