Supervisor Keith Carson’s priorities reflect the concerns he hears from people in Alameda County every day, especially around the issues of affordability, housing and homelessness, transportation, sustainability and access to health care.
Housing and Homelessness
In addition to AC Impact, a program that provides permanent supportive housing and services to chronically homeless adults in Alameda County, Supervisor Carson is proud of his work on the following programs to address our County’s housing needs:
Boomerang Fund Housing Policy – In 2015, the Board of Supervisors implemented a policy to allocate all of the former Redevelopment Agency Low-Mod Housing Funds countywide into the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, dedicated to the development of affordable housing countywide. This policy also provides 20% of the County’s residual from its share of contributions to the former Redevelopment Agency be allocated to the Affordable Housing Trust for the entire County, as well as 20% of the County’s share of ongoing, one-time funds into the Trust Fund.
Employee Mortgage Program – In January 2015, Alameda County implemented a program that would provide housing benefits to its employees in a way that does not burden the budget in any way but accommodates all employees equally. The program provides flexible and cost efficient mortgage products to county employees as a way for the County to attract higher skilled workers and encourage employees to live within the county where they are employed, where the cost of housing is usually very high.
Measure A1 – The Board of Supervisors placed Measure A1, an Affordable Housing Bond, on the November 2016 countywide ballot. Voters passed the measure, which will raise more than $500 million for affordable housing programs across the count.
In 2001, Supervisor Carson, along with Contra Costa County Supervisor Gioia and Assemblymember Dion Aroner, advocated for resources for a free and reduced cost bus pass program for school aged youth in our community. This effort resulted in a short pilot program funded through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and while the pilot showed promise, it was not able to secure ongoing funding. In 2014, Supervisor Carson was instrumental in the inclusion of the Student Transit Pass Pilot program in the Measure BB Transportation Expenditure Plan that was passed by voters that year.
A priority of Supervisor Carson’s is helping Alameda County residents and businesses do all they can to address our climate change crisis and protect our environment. In addition to the Green Building Ordinance, which requires that all County municipal projects be built to a minimum U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver standard and requires recycling of construction and demolition debris, the Board of Supervisors also passed a Safe Sharps Disposal Ordinance which requires pharmaceutical companies that manufacture medication distributed through a needle and to be injected at home to also provide for a safe disposal option.
Alameda County is also committed to clean energy advances. In partnership with state and federal officials and Chevron Energy Solutions, it completed a microgrid at the County’s Santa Rita Jail in 2012. This project ensures the jail will have power should its connection to the grid be interrupted, saving the County approximately $100,000 a year in energy costs. Several renewable energy projects have been implemented at the jail, including solar photovoltaic panels, a 1 MW fuel cell cogeneration plant, and wind turbines, along with a 2 MW advanced energy storage system.
Supervisor Carson is proud to be a key contributor to Alameda County’s leadership in sustainability. Among its actions, the County has helped launch the National Cool Counties initiative and passed a Climate Leadership Resolution.
Health Care and Mental Health
Focusing on health care and mental health, particularly for young people, Supervisor Carson’s office launched Place Matters in 2006, a project with the Alameda County Public Health Department that is designed to improve the health of our community by addressing the social conditions that lead to poor health. Place Matters works collaboratively with multiple sectors to advance health equity through community-centered local policy focused on economics, education, housing, criminal justice, land use and transportation policy areas. Place Matters frames key policy issues through the lens health equity and provides analysis to emerging policy areas where this perspective is absent.
Supervisor Carson is committed to helping Alameda residents successfully re-entering our community post-incarceration. In March 2007, Alameda County “banned the box” for those seeking County employment. As a result, self-disclosure of criminal history information in a job application process does not occur until the last step of the examination process, and fingerprinting for background checks is performed after a conditional offer. In addition, to protect against potential discrimination, a special unit in the Human Resources Department performs an analysis to determine if a person’s conviction is, in fact, related to the specific functions of the job being sought.
Supervisor Carson is also strongly committed to supporting the success of African American men. In 2015, the Alameda County launched the Year of the African American Male with a focus on creating opportunities for information sharing and the planning of solution-oriented activities, as well as publishing a free resources guide specifically geared toward assisting Black men in key areas. The year focused on our community’s collective efforts to assemble all existing resources to maximize positive outcomes for all Black Men in Alameda County.
Finally, an initiative Supervisor Carson started became Alameda County’s Vision 2026. This comprehensive guides the County’s work toward solving our wide-ranging problems and creating safe and livable communities, a prosperous and vibrant economy, a healthy environment and a thriving and resilient population.