Concord adopts homeless strategic plan

CONCORD, CA (Feb. 14, 2024) — In a Jan. 6 meeting, the Concord City Council members adopted a Homeless Strategic Plan which includes strategies to spend $5 million in funds.

In a press release dated Jan. 7, it states, “ … [the ] 44-page document that will serve as a roadmap as Concord begins implementing the strategies to prevent and address homelessness. While homelessness is a persistent challenge throughout the Bay Area, Concord identified it as a top priority and, in 2022, Council asked City staff to develop a comprehensive plan with recommendations for strategies that Concord could implement using $5.4 million in one-time funds that had been specifically allocated for these purposes.”

Community Relations Manager, Jennifer Ortega, said over the past year, the City Council has held a number of meetings regarding the Homeless Strategic Plan.

“Each meeting agenda item is accompanied by a robust staff report with background information,” she said. “The videos of each meeting are also available the city’s webnsite, and you can do a search by keywords and dates.”

Councilmember Laura Nakamura, also chair of the 11-member working group, said that by adopting the ‘Plan’ Concord is taking a huge step towards implementing solutions which address the problems and challenges of homelessness “rather than continuing to waste money out of our general fund on repeated actions, like encampment sweeps, which don’t solve anything.”

Concord Mayor Edi Birsan, who serves as vice chair of the Homeless Strategic Plan’s 11-member working group, is proud of the time and effort ­that went into producing the guiding document.

“We now have tangible strategies that we can begin to implement,” he said, in the press release. “Now is when the real work begins, and I know that our community is dedicated to doing this right.”

With an outside consultant who helped facilitate the process, Concord officially kicked off the strategic planning process in Feb. 2023.

The 11-member working group, appointed by the council, are people who represent a variety of experiences to include, Laura M. Nakamura (chair), Edi E. Birsan (vice chair), Brendi Velasquez (lived experience representative), Cora Mitchell (mental health professional), Dana Johnson (LGBTQI+ community representative), David Litty (owner/manager of a business based in Concord representative), Eric Rehn (business community representative), Kelly McKinley (non-profit homeless services provider), Lance Goree (Concord resident and property owner), Leonard Ramirez (veteran homeless services provider) and Linda Jacob – substance abuse professional.

Nakamura said Christy Saxton, not appointed by the council, played an integral role within the working group.

“She helped provide an invaluable amount of information and context to the situation in Contra Costa and Concord,” she said.

Nakamura said that one of the most important benefits of this work coming to fruition is that Concord is now much more competitive for grant-funding for the strategies that have been identified.

“Local government is most productive when it works intelligently to secure multiple funding sources for important programs, rather than trying to solve everything on its own,” she said.

She believes the plan also creates opportunities for community-based organizations and businesses to become a part of the envisioned solutions.

“We produced a plan that will help us implement informed and equitable strategies to use City resources effectively and intelligently and will help to reduce the number of our neighbors who have no choice but to sleep on city streets,” said Nakamura.

According to Community Services Manager, Leng Power, the Rapid Rehousing Service Provider program, which Concord launched in Sept. 2022, has completed a full year of operation. It helped those experiencing homelessness connect to permanent housing with case management services.

“In partnership with Hope Solutions, the program has enrolled 12 new households in the second operational year and has a capacity to serve up to 15 households,” said Leng. “The housing units have been mainly secured in the City of Concord to support the connection to their community. In some instances, housing has been secured in nearby cities. All housing searches and placements are client-focused to ensure tenancy success and sustainability.”

Additionally, the approved strategies in the newly approved plan include creating a mobile resource center, continued investments in rapid re-housing and developing various interim housing models, such as scattered site homes and tiny homes, centralized tiny homes and interim motel housing.

Next steps, the Council expressed its desire to start with the mobile resource center and interim small motel housing, seeking non-profit partners and other organizations to assist in the implementation and help offset the ongoing costs to running and providing services to unhoused individuals.

However, simultaneously, the city is actively seeking a $4.7 million grant from the State to help fund these efforts, with grant awards expected to be announced as early as this spring.

The more than $5 million in one-time funds that the City currently has, was allocated from Concord’s Measure V (sales tax) fund and the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City received as part of the pandemic recovery efforts.

With the adopted and accepted Homeless Strategic Plan in place, city staff will next finalize the operational and logistical details of plan implementation – which involves meeting with the community stakeholders and developing requests for proposals.

In a few months, city staff will return to Council to provide an update on the grant and to request an appropriation of funds to support the implementation of the targeted strategies.

For more information on how Concord is actively working to assist the unhoused, visit their homepage at

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Charleen Earley

Charleen “Charlie” Earley is a 26-year freelance writer for Bay Area publications and beyond. She teaches journalism mass media communication classes at Diablo Valley College and San Ramon Campus. She’s also a stand-up comic, a mom, “Grammy” to three grandchildren and two rescue tuxedo cat sisters.