Read HAC’s 2022 Annual Report

HAC’s 2022 Annual Report describes programmatic activities, highlights recent developments, gives a financial snapshot, and recognizes the financial contributions of some of our institutional funders and donors.

HAC Annual Report 2022

“Getting access to these benefits is the first step to getting off the street”: HAC Appellate Attorney David Waggoner Interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle

In the article “Court orders officials to reconsider mentally ill homeless man’s application for SSI benefits,” HAC’s Appellate Attorney David Waggoner describes the case of a client who has been fighting since 2018 to obtain the disability benefits for which he legally qualifies—and which he was finally awarded, after appealing all the way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Thirty-one-year-old Darryl Finney has been homeless since age 19, living on the streets, occasionally in shelters and jail cells, in Oakland and Berkeley. He has held a few jobs, but not for long, because of what his lawyer describes as severe mental illness, including bipolar disorder and depression. He tried to kill himself when he was 11 and again at 13, according to court filings.

But when Finney applied in 2018 for Supplemental Security Income, the federal benefit for poor people unable to work because of age or disability, the government said he should have gotten mental health treatment and then looked for work.

Now a federal appeals court has ordered officials to reconsider Finney’s application, saying there were reasons — including his mental illness — that he has been either unable or unwilling to seek treatment. His case “is not at all unusual,” said his attorney, David Waggoner of the Homeless Action Center in Oakland.

“Anyone who’s had engagement with the federal bureaucracy knows it’s difficult to understand. Add poverty and mental illness, and it makes it essentially impossible,” Waggoner said. Especially for “someone who has no address, no ability to engage a massive bureaucracy,” he said.”

Read the full article: Court orders officials to reconsider mentally ill homeless man’s application for SSI benefits – SF Chronicle, 1.17.23

HAC Outreach Advocate Kai Gault Interviewed in KQED Story

The piece, entitled “Last Days at the Radisson: As State Shelter Program Shutters, Formerly Unhoused Residents in Oakland Brace for next steps,” describes the Project Roomkey program in Alameda County, which housed “high risk” homeless individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article features interviews with participants in the program and community caseworkers. It discusses lessons learned from problems with the program, as well as fears now that the program is ending.

HAC’s wonderful Outreach Advocate Kai Gault was interviewed, discussing how she had to step in when Roomkey case managers were not helping her clients.

Read the full article: Last Days at the Radisson – KQED, 8.2.22

“Seize Time” Mural: Aerosoul Art

HAC is proud to show off the mural on our West Oakland office, created by local artists from AeroSoul Art. The mural depicts current and historic Black community leaders like Carroll Fife, community organizers from Moms 4 Housing, images of rank-and-file Black Panther Party members, and the Founder and Chairman of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale.

About the Artist – AeroSoul Art:
AeroSoul Art is a community institution and cultural resource that documents, promotes, and develops the legacy and rich history of the African/African diaspora’s writing culture commonly known as Aerosol Art or Spray Can Art. AeroSoul, its coordinators, and participants appreciate your support in ensuring that this historic Cultural Movement reaches its potential to positively impact youth and struggling communities. In order to achieve this potential, funding is sought for the resources and materials necessary for organizing exhibitions, classes and cultural enriching events. Please support the AeroSoul movement:

HAC is Grateful to our Donors of Health and Hygiene Supplies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Homeless Action Center is pleased to announce a donation of 6,000 bars of soap from Soapbox, as well as gallons of hand sanitizer from both Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery and a student teaching lab at UC Berkeley’s La Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.

During this time, HAC staff are still meeting with our clients for limited essential services on the sidewalk outside our offices. Additionally, HAC has partnered with other outreach providers to distribute tents, health and hygiene resources, and other supplies to people who are living on the street and in encampments. Many of these individuals do not have access to basic health and hygiene supplies. These donations of soap and hand sanitizer will enable homeless individuals to follow recommended hand washing and sanitizing practices to limit the spread of the virus. Many of these homeless individuals are at great risk: many are elderly and living with chronic and acute conditions and disabilities that are more difficult to manage on the street. Limiting contagion through something as simple as soap and hand sanitizer will help save lives.

Lawsuit against CalTrans

HAC has joined with several individual plaintiffs as an organizational plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against CalTrans.  This state agency is the owner of property under freeway overpasses where homeless people commonly camp out.  When it clears those encampments, CalTrans violates state law and its own policies.  CalTrans is required to hold people’s property for a set amount of time and allow people access to claim it.  Instead, the agency has been unlawfully disposing of the property.  Many times this property is immediately and summarily destroyed.  The lawsuit seeks damages for the aggrieved homeless plaintiffs and a declaratory judgment that CalTrans’ conduct is unlawful.

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