Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2022  
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  Colossal Failure of RPA Homeless Initiatives
February 6, 2022

Figure 1 - This is the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA)  idea of a successful homeless program (costs taxpayers over $1.5 million a year)

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Figure 2 - This is the first unit of the Mayor's Office Housing First initiative ready for move in (costs taxpayers nothing)

Being “progressive,” the RPA City Council members (McLaughlin, Jimenez, Willis and Martinez), of course know what is best for the homeless, because that’s what being progressive is all about, knowing what’s best for others. Because of their incompetence and corruption, aided by the incompetence and corruption if the Office of the City Attorney, their plans have been colossal failures.

The money the City of Richmond has wasted on homeless initiatives sponsored by McLaughlin, Jimenez, Willis and Martinez boggles the mind. In March of 2021, the City Council approved a $560,000 sole source contract with Housing Coalition of the East Bay (HCEB). McLaughlin drafted the contract, refusing assistance from staff. From Minutes of the March 16, 2021, City Council meeting:

I-2. Reconsider, after a two-thirds vote to suspend the Council Rules of Procedure and Order, the direction the City Council gave on February 23, 2021, and direct the city manager to: (1) authorize use of the $260,000 funding from the County before its June 30, 2021, expiration date and $300,000 from the City Affordable Housing fund to contract with Housing Consortium of East Bay (HCBE); and (2) authorize the creation of an emergency ad hoc committee consisting of three City Council members. The ad hoc committee, with the support of City staff, and County Supervisor John Gioia and County staff would develop a longterm, sustainable, and well-funded plan for assisting unhoused residents of Richmond with County and City funds beyond the $560,000 obtained from the County and the Affordable Housing in lieu fund.
They followed with another $983,975 sole source contract in July of 2021, also drafted by McLaughlin without staff assistance, for Rebuilding Together East Bay North (RTEBN). From the Minutes of the July 27, 2021, City Council meeting:

I-19. The matter to approve a sole-source contract with Rebuilding Together East Bay-North, in an amount not to exceed $983,975, for a term ending on June 30, 2022, for SOS! Richmond to provide outreach and support services to unsheltered people who reside in encampments and safe parking sites in the City of Richmond was presented Councilmember McLaughlin. Mayor Butt expressed concern that this item did not appear to follow proper procurement procedures and was that the contract was not prepared in collaboration with staff. Discussion ensued. This item was continued from the cancelled July 20, 2021, meeting. The following individuals gave comments via teleconference: Mark Wassberg, Leisa Johnson, Deborah, and Tarnel Abbott. A motion was made by Councilmember McLaughlin, seconded by Councilmember Willis, to approve the contract, passed by the following vote: Ayes: Councilmembers Jimenez, Martinez, McLaughlin, Willis, Vice Mayor Johnson III, and Mayor Butt. Noes: None. Absent: Councilmember Bates. Abstain: None.
That’s a total of $1,543,975 for two no-bid contracts. Each contractor gets 10% off just to manage the contracts, so that’s $154,000 off the top that doesn’t help anyone except the employees of the two contractors.

According to their most recent Form 990, RTEBN was a rather modest nonprofit, showing contracts worth $134,850 and expenses of $142,838, until they hit the jackpot with a nearly $1 million no-bid, RPA-prepared contract with the City of Richmond. Rebuilding Together east Bay North does not have an Encompass rating because there is insufficient data to evaluate it.

Both contracts had performance metrics and reporting requirements, but these have not been met.

The HCEB Contract included the following:

Reporting a. HCEB will conduct a weekly census at the Rydin Road site. b. Reports shall be submitted by Contractor on a weekly basis, with electronic submissions due on Friday of each week. c. Reports shall be submitted to Lina Velasco, Community Development Director d. Reports will include the following: i. Total number of vehicles and program participants at the time of the report. ii. Number of participants who exited the program since the previous report, and cumulatively with outcomes for each. iii. Flex funds used, including amount and purpose.
The HCEB contract, which ends in a week on February 11,2022, had requirements for weekly reports, including specific numbers of vehicles, program participants, number of people exiting the program, with outcomes, and use of flex funds. There should have been over 40 weekly reports, but in response to my inquiry, only five have been produced, and none include the contractually required information.


Report from HCEB (Castro Street and Rydin Road RV Camps)

November 5, 2021

1 person got a job
3 people were vaccinated

December 10, 2021

2 people got flex funds for an apartment 
4 people got vaccinated 
2 people went to homeless court and had their tickets cleared
1 person went to Marriott 

December 17, 2021

2 people moved in housing
1 went to the Marriott 

December 30, 2021

Ppe and sanitizer given to all rydin residents.

January 12, 2022

Castro updates

We still have at least 2 families with children.
We moved 27 people out.
HCH goes out every other Tuesday.

Rydin updates

We have had at least 2 overdoses from people selling Meth laced with fentanyl.

We have had at least 2 cases of covid.

HCH has come out and given boosters and vaccinations to everyone who wants on 4 occasions. They are still coming every other Tuesday. 

We have given out funds for move ins to 2 more people although they have not yet moved in, 

The RTEBN contract started on July 20, 2021, and so has been in effect for over seven months. In response to my inquiry, no records of what RTEBN has accomplished have been provided. Astonishingly, the amateur-prepared contract did not even have the specific reporting requirements of the HCEB contract, but it did have accountability:

7. Records. Contractor shall keep and make available for inspection and copying by authorized representatives of the City, the State of California, and the United States Government, the Contractor's regular business records and such additional records pertaining to this Contract as may be required by the City.

Contractor shall retain all documents pertaining to this Contract for a period of five (5) years after this Contract's termination (or for any further period that is required by law) and until all Federal or State audits are complete and exceptions resolved for this contract's funding period. Upon request, CONTRACTOR shall make these records available to authorized representatives of the CITY, the State of California, and the United States Government.

Contractor shall keep full and detailed accounts, maintain records, and exercise such controls as may be necessary for proper financial management under this Contract. The Contractor’s accounting and control systems shall be satisfactory to City. Contractor's accounting systems shall conform to generally accepted accounting principles and all records shall provide a breakdown of total costs charged under this Contract, including properly executed payrolls, time records, utility bills, invoices and vouchers. The City shall be afforded prompt access to Contractor's records, books, and Contractor shall preserve such project records for a period of at least five (5 years after the termination of this Contract , or for such longer period as may be required by law. Contractor shall permit City and its authorized representatives and accountants to inspect, examine and copy Contractor's books, records, accounts, correspondence, instructions, drawings, receipts, subcontracts, purchase orders, vouchers, memoranda and other data relating to the project or services set forth in Exhibit A, and any and all data relevant to this Contract at any reasonable time for the purpose of auditing and verifying statements, invoices, or bills submitted by Contractor pursuant to this Contract and shall provide such assistance as may be reasonably required in the course of such inspection.

Contractor shall also allow City access to the record keeping and accounting personnel of Contractor. City further reserves the right to examine and re-examine said books, records, accounts, and data during the five (5 year period following the termination of this Contract; and Contractor shall in no event dispose of, destroy, alter, or mutilate said books, records, accounts, and data in any manner whatever for five (5 years after the termination of this Contract. General Conditions/EJ/TE 01-19-11 4 of 13

Pursuant to California Government Code § 10527, the parties to this Contract shall be subject to the examination and audit of representatives of the Auditor General of the State of California for a period of three (3) years after final payment under this Contract. The examination and audit shall be confined to those matters connected with the performance of this Contract including, but not limited to, the cost of administering this Contract.
Unfortunately. none of the required records has been provided to me pursuant to my request.

If the total of $1,543,975 in these two, no-bid contracts had been used to simply house people, some 100 homeless would now be housed. The average rent for a studio apartment in Richmond is $1,480/month ($17,760/year), and the average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,883/month ($22,596/year). Using an average of about $20,000, we could have rented 77 apartments for a year. Since some unhoused people are couples, we could have housed as many as 100 people for what we spent just perpetuating homeless camps -- .the RPA plan.