Richmond Council pushes back Rydin camp closure, as some residents have nowhere to go
on September 23, 2022
Rydin Road residents have been given a reprieve.
The Richmond City Council approved a contract amendment at its Tuesday meeting that will extend the sunset date for some Rydin Road residents. The extension allows the RV encampment to keep providing shelter for residents who need more time to transition.
The council voted 5-2 to push back the closing date from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21 for those with special circumstances and to allow $50,000 to be equally distributed among residents by the Housing Consortium of the East Bay. Mayor Tom Butt and council member Nathaniel Bates voted against the amendment.
Bates voiced his concern about the amendment’s lack of a long-term solution.
“We’re just shifting homeless from one area of the city to the other,” Bates said. “You don’t have a plan.”
Director of Community Development Lina Velasco said there was a delay in appropriating the money because of a lack of clear direction at the Aug. 1 special city council meeting on the encampment’s closure.
“We want to make sure that we’re dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s in the disbursements,” Velasco said during the staff report.
Council member Claudia Jimenez said she hopes the money the city is offering will benefit residents who are unable to get necessary medical services.
“We know that the services the county offers are not enough,” Jimenez said. “The council recognizes that and adds additional funds for this transition.”
To receive the money, residents must complete a transitional plan with staff. Checks will be given directly to residents or to those facilitating the transition, including housing providers.
The Housing Consortium of the East Bay’s contract has been extended by three months to aid in dispensing funds, which first requires transitional plans to be approved within 48 hours of being received.
The Housing Consortium began a 10-month contract with Richmond in April 2021, with an initial amount of $560,000. Six amendments have been made to the contract.
Rydin Road has 23 households that are eligible for funds, according to the staff report. Of those, six have no transitional plan. Lea Murray, the founder of Collaborising, a nonprofit helping with transitional plans at the encampment, said her team is worried about what will happen to those residents when the sunset date comes.
Two residents have mental and physical disabilities that the county has not accommodated yet, Murray said. Others, she told the council, refuse to participate in making a transitional plan. She says residents are like “deer in the headlights” when planning their transitions. Some have nowhere to go.
Rydin Road resident Jesse Toberman told the council that he has been unable to complete the transitional plan because his friends would not provide information that the Housing Consortium of the East Bay requires for him to get transition money. The information would be used to verify that the person has received the money.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Toberman said. “If I’m supposed to be held accountable for the money, why can’t I get the money?”
Richmond Confidential welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Richmond Confidential assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.
Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.
Please send news tips to email@example.com.