Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  Richmond mayor, Rotary roll out initiative for housing challenged families
January 24, 2022

I teamed up with the Richmond Rotary Club and other private and non-profit partners to start this initiative because of the inability of the RPA-controlled City Council to effectively pursue realistic programs and policies related to unhoused persons. They are wasting taxpayers’ money and not delivering results.

As I stated at the January 18, 2022 City Council meeting, I have resigned from the two ad hoc committees set up by the City Council to deal with homeless issues because they are ineffective, and the RPA members are incapable of making decisions. Nat Bates also resigned, leaving only Eduardo Martinez on one ad hoc committee and Claudia Jimenez and Gayle McLaughlin on the other. I asked for volunteers to replace us, but there were none.

As I reviewed in the E-FORUM City of Richmond State of Homelessness, the City Council has appropriated some $1.5 million for homeless programs, including funds diverted from the Richmond Police Department as part of the Reimagining Public Safety initiative. Unfortunately, there is very little to show for it. There has been no accounting for the use of the funds, and the programs have become more oriented towards perpetuating and enabling the RV camps at Rydin Road and the Richmond Parkway between Hensley and North Castro than transitioning people into homes. The RPA-controlled City Council excels at talk but can’t deliver when it comes to the walk.

The objective of the Rotary and Mayor’s Office initiative is simple, to transition unhoused persons, especially families, out of the RV camps and into housing, one person or family at a time. Members of the Rotary Club will provide mentoring and advocacy services to make sure the individuals or families are getting all the services they qualify for. The plan is to have them self-sufficient by the end of a year.

I am happy to say that we have our first success. A family of six living in a RV at Richmond Parkway between Hensley and North Castro will move into a two-bedroom apartment later this week. We are in need of some furnishings if anyone wants to help:

  • Two sets of bunk beds with mattresses and bedding.
  • One double or queen sized bed with mattresses and bedding.
  • One couch
  • One dining table and six chairs.

We continue to look for landlords anywhere in West County who would be willing to commit to rent studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments with a year’s rent paid in advance. Contact me if you are willing or know someone who is.

We are also looking for funding partners who want to be a part of this program.

I have received quite a few emails from non-homeless persons who have rent and landlord issues and are looking for assistance. This program is not directed to those needs, and I would refer them to the Richmond Rent Program and other agencies. I will provide a list in an E-FORUM soon.

Richmond Standard
January 21, 2022

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is calling for West Contra Costa County landlords to assist with the new housing initiative for those who need it most. 

As part of the initiative, the Richmond Mayor’s Office and the Richmond Rotary Club are teaming up with other organizations to pair up “housing challenge families with affordable housing,” according to the mayor in his E-Forum.

The mayor said that they will pay a year’s rent in advance for a two bedroom apartment or home to West County landlords or rental housing owners. “We are hoping for something in the $2,000 per month range or lower,” said the mayor, who requested landlords “be part of the solution” by participating. 

Interested parties should contact Mayor Butt at