The Bay Area’s housing crisis is a senior crisis. More older adults are at risk of displacement. More homeless older adults attended winter shelters this year than ever before. Older adults face unique barriers when trying to access existing housing services, and experience negative health outcomes as a result of stress and housing loss. Finding upstream solutions is a moral necessity.

The Older Adult Housing Crisis Workgroup is part of the collaborative efforts underway under the new Alameda County Council for Age-Friendly Communities. The Workgroup developed a framework in order to get a handle on the complex issues, identify the unique needs of seniors, and formulate action recommendations for the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator.

The framework describes the precipitating factors that make people vulnerable – the backdrop of life in the Bay Area where housing costs don’t equate with incomes, and inequities abound. The stressors that can then hit and destabilize a person – from personal and job loss to health issues to rent gouging and predatory lending. And the resulting impacts – being displaced, tenuously housed, and literally homeless.

Click here for a .pdf of the framework, Housing Stress Equals Life Stress.

Housing Crisis Stats

  • Over 224,000 seniors age 65+ live in Alameda County (13.5% of the total population).
  • By 2020, that number is expected to grow to over 260,000 people.
  • 1 in 11 older adults live below the federal poverty line ($1,011/month).
  • Half of all seniors live below the California Elder Economic Security Standard Index – a measure of basic living costs.
  • Fair Market Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Alameda County is $1,693.
  • 47.6% of senior renters are “housing cost burdened” – they pay over 30% of their income for housing. 30% spend over half their income on housing.
  • 28.2% of senior homeowners are housing cost burdened.
  • 10% of Alameda County homeless residents were older adults in the 2017 Point-in-Time Count.
  • 17% of homeless residents first experienced homelessness after the age of 50.

The Civic Engine’s Interactive Maps of Elderly Income (

Alameda County 2017 Point-In-Time Count

Recent Developments

September 14, 2020 – In just the past four years, homelessness in Alameda County has doubled, officials said. County point-in-time counts reported 4,040 unsheltered individuals in the county in 2015. The number has sharply risen to 8,022 in 2019.  With the pandemic-induced recession the problem is growing.

Last month Alameda County Supervisors placed Measure W on the November ballot to fund services to prevent and address homelessness. Services are the missing piece in the toolkit for reducing the region’s growing homelessness crisis.

Measure W will address Alameda County’s homeless crisis, protecting community members who are most vulnerable: seniors, veterans, families and people who can’t keep up with skyrocketing housing costs and are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. The measure will be funded by a half-cent sales tax.

What will Measure W do?

  • Provide housing assistance, mental health resources, and substance use treatment for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Help people who are at risk of homelessness stay in their homes.
  • Increase hygiene and sanitation services.
  • Support homeless veterans, seniors and families with services.
  • Increase employment opportunities through job training.
  • Shelter people experiencing homelessness to reduce COVID-19 impacts.

For more information visit the Measure W website at www.hometogether2020.orgPlease sign up to volunteer and spread the word!

September 10, 2020 – Alameda County’s Social Services Agency, Health Care Services Agency and Auditor-Controller have partnered with community health clinics to launch the Alameda County Responsibility to Community Health (ARCH). The ARCH Program is designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Alameda County by providing financial assistance to self-isolating County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and reside in designated high-risk neighborhoods.

The ARCH Program will distribute approximately $10 million in economic assistance to an estimated 7,500 County residents whose economic insecurity might otherwise force them to continue working after testing positive for COVID-19. It is believed that many eligible County residents may be essential workers not able to work remotely, thereby placing them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 and meet the ARCH program eligibility requirements will be referred to the program by the Alameda County Public Health Department’s Case Investigation/Contact Tracing Provider Unit and by four health clinic partners – La Clinica Health Center, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Roots Community Health Center, and West Oakland Health Center.

The program will be operational through December 31, 2020.

April 19, 2020 – The new Alameda County Housing Portal – with listings for new senior housing – has officially launched! Alameda County HCD is pleased to announce that Eden Housing is accepting applications for the lottery waitlist for a County-funded senior housing development in Alameda. Applicants may apply through a newly launched Alameda County Housing Portal, by clicking here. The application deadline for the 29 available units of senior housing is April 24, 2020 at 4pm.

January 10, 2019 – The 2019 unsheltered Point-In-Time fieldwork will be held on January 30, 2019. The Point-In-Time Count records the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness on a given night. Conducting a Count is a requirement of receiving federal homeless assistance funds. Most importantly, it gives our community useful and critical data for strategic, program, and policy and fiscal planning.

Everyone Home is assembling 500 volunteers that will work in teams to complete the visual count of unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness in every city throughout Alameda County. Two to three volunteers will be matched with a Guide (a person with current or recent experience of homelessness) to conduct a visual tally of homeless persons in a specific geographic area. As of December 28th help is still needed in East County. Everyone Home invites government, non-profit and faith-based organizations, businesses, community and advocacy groups, and private citizens to help.

Voices of the Housing Crisis

Jerome’s Story

Doris’ Story

Lynda’s Story

Asanta’s Story

Willie’s Story

Lucy’s Story

Addressing the Crisis

EveryOne Home Plan to End Homelessness: 2018 Strategic Update

Affordable Housing Needs – County Response, a November 30, 2018 presentation

The Dellums Institute’s Report on Immediate Anti-Displacement Solutions 

About County Measure A1

In November 2016, voters approved Alameda County’s $580 million Affordable Housing Bond Measure intended to create and protect affordable housing options for people who need it the most, including seniors and the disabled, veterans, low-income families, and homeless residents.

Measure A1 Implementation Update Handout 11/30/2018 

Measure A1 Implementation Plan

Measure A1 Schedule & Steps

Alameda County Housing Bond Web Site