Tom Butt
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  The Mayor's 2018 Homelss Challenge Updated
August 12, 2018

Since I issued The Mayor's 2018 Homeless Challenge (July 28, 2018), City staff has corrected the list of Richmond’s ten largest employers:

CHEVRON U.S.A. INC.                                 3510
COSTCO WHOLESALE #482                       431
TARGET STORE T-1507                              238
BERKELEY MEDEVICES                             220
WALMART INC.  #3455                                 215

So I apologize to those who were erroneously listed, and I am reissuing the challenge to those on the accurate list. If I can get even one taker, I think we can gain momentum and bring others along with help from non-profits and foundations. Who is first?

If you have contact information for the executive leadership of these companies, please let me know.

Richmond mayor asks companies to pay for city homeless camp
Homeless men, including Roberto Garcia, left, Donald Carr, right, and Samuel Vazquez, eat snacks left by outreach workers during the Homeless Count, which takes place every two years, in Richmond, Calif. on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Richmond mayor Tom Butt is calling on the city’s biggest companies to pay for a city-managed homeless encampment. (Dean Coppola/Staff)

By Ali Tadayon | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: August 2, 2018 at 9:06 am | UPDATED: August 2, 2018 at 9:46 am

RICHMOND — Richmond mayor Tom Butt is calling on the city’s biggest companies to foot the bill for a city-sanctioned homeless encampment akin to those in Oakland and Berkeley.

Over the weekend, Butt sent out the request to the companies with the largest amount of employees in Richmond, including Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Apron and Costco Wholesale. He asked each of the 10 companies to donate at least $154,000 to establish and operate a managed homeless camp that will serve at least 100 people.

By Monday, he hadn’t gotten any bites, Butt said.

Plans for a city-managed homeless encampment are in the very beginning stages, he said. The idea hasn’t gone before the City Council, and Butt is working to secure the funding first before working out all of the logistics and find a location.

“I’m not saying (the companies) should be paying for it; I’m just saying this is a purely philanthropic thing they can do. It’s not a tax; I’m not trying to compel them to do it, I’m just saying there’s a major problem in the community, and here’s a chance to be part o the solution,” Butt said.

His suggestion for the encampment is to have it be in a place that is “visually isolated from main streets,” but close to transportation and other services, he said in a blog post. A two-acre site could handle at least 100 people, he said.

The site would include water, toilets, hand-washing stations and trash disposal, he said, as well as a “day-room” for dining and one or more cargo containers for storage.

He suggested tents or recreational vehicles be used to house people on the site. Any other structure, he said, would be subject to California Building codes and housing laws.

Establishing the site and contracting a nonprofit to manage it 24/7 could cost as much as $600,000 for the first year, he said, comparing it to the Calli Youth Shelter on Brookside Drive operated by Contra Costa County.

The city does not have that kind of money, Butt said.

“It’s all about money. If I got pledges tomorrow, I think we could have this up and operating. None of it is permanent construction, so it can go pretty quick,” he said.