Point Among the Poorest Bay Area Neighborhoods

Dennis Evanosky

Workers deliver household needs to residents who live on Alameda Point.

A report from the nonprofit think tank Brookings Institution has labeled the Alameda Point neighborhood as one of the five poorest in the Bay Area. The report studied centralized income levels in places around the United States.

"The research study was started to track the concentration of poverty levels in the country over the last decade," said Elizabeth Kneebone, a senior research associate at Brookings.

"In the '90s, we saw these poverty levels lower because of the strong economy, but during the last decade with the economy worsening, we wanted to see where the poverty levels are now. We found out we lost ground," she said.

The study, which took six months to complete, lists neighborhoods where at least 40 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.

The news might come as a slight to many in the Alameda Point neighborhood, but officials and residents in the area see otherwise.

"It means we're doing our job," said Doug Biggs, executive director of Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), a housing community that provides residents — mainly those who are homeless — with housing and community programs.

Biggs said he believes the financial situations of APC residents are the cause for the low-income status of the neighborhood. After the closure of Naval Air Station Alameda in April 1997, the city of Alameda turned over many of the housing units at Alameda Point over to community housing programs.

Some "200 of the 266 housing units at Alameda Point are for low-income or community housing," said Jennifer Ott, Alameda Point's chief operating officer. Ott said she also was not surprised by the findings and believes it will not bring any negativity to the city of Alameda.

"I'm not surprised at all," said Ott. "Residents of this area are veterans, women survivors of domestic abuse and other people who are under tough circumstances. The city is fortunate that we are able to help these people get back on their feet."

Other neighborhoods included in the nationwide report included crime-stricken areas such as Philadelphia neighborhoods; or economically oppressed areas in the Midwest such as Detroit. But the Alameda Point neighborhood doesn't fit either demographic.

"It is the complete opposite," said Jack Mingo, who has lived in his Alameda Point neighborhood home for the last nine years. "The only crime I have to worry about comes from the occasional visits from squirrels or rabbits messing with my yard."

Mingo went on to say residents in single-family homes and APC have a good relationship.

"Living here is great," said Mingo. "There are no problems between income levels here. I know one person who moved here from Sacramento who was a little worried about some of the homeless people at first, but now has no problems with the area and likes it here."

Kneebone said her institution's study is beginning to receive inquiries from different city governments. "We're trying to disseminate the information," said Kneebone. "Then we'll see how to integrate it in public policy decision."

Biggs does not believe this study will enhance the already prominent government aid given to the APC.

"We already work closely with the city," said Biggs. "We receive all types of funding from the city, but I don't plan on it increasing because of the study."

Biggs said funding includes public works grants and economic development funding.

Ott said the city will continue to support APC even after the city takes over Alameda Point by the end of next year.

"We have a legally binding agreement with APC that will make sure homes in the area remain affordable and jobs are created for those in need in the area."

The other neighborhoods in the Bay Area that are on the list include San Francisco's Hunter's Point, downtown Berkeley, West Oakland and uptown Oakland.



+1 #1 randy lantz 2011-11-11 16:23
This is another example of how important it is for citizens of Alameda and the Bay Area to support Doug Biggs and the important work of the Alameda Point Collaborative.

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