Bay Area mayor ending term paying landlords 1 year of rent to house homeless families

"I don't think anything makes me happier than doing something like that for people," said Mayor Butt.

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Friday, December 9, 2022
East Bay mayor ending term paying rent for homeless families
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Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is asking for landlords to open their properties to house homeless individuals - and he's paying one-year of rent upfront.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- The mayor of Richmond is asking for landlords to open their properties to house homeless individuals. He is willing to pay one-year of rent upfront.

For Brianni Peters, there's only one wish this Christmas - a home.

"This is my home for now. It's got me through the rough times this year. It isn't much, but it has been home. It had kept me out of the cold. I paid $300 bucks for it," said Brianni Peters while she pointed to her RV.

For the first time in her life, Brianni and her 14-year-old daughter became homeless. They've lived in an RV for almost a year.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Richmond mayor is paying for 1 year of rent to help end homeless crisis

"She is pretty much being a tough cookie herself through it. She took it way better than I actually would've have at her age," said Peters, "I wouldn't want to wish this on anybody. My worst enemy - I wouldn't want to wish this on them. As far as being here. we make it the best we can."

Under the Richmond Parkway freeway are about 70 others using it the area as shelter. Vanessa Calloway is the encampment's resolution project manager. She partnered with the city to help the homeless community find permanent housing.

"It was a blessing that she was chosen, and I couldn't wait to get here yesterday to let her know," said Calloway.

Brianni Peters got the news Wednesday that she and her daughter will soon have a home.

"I really want to thank Vanessa because I kind of doubted her before. She has been changing my whole everything. I got to say thank you, Vanessa. I appreciate it to the max. I don't ever want to do this again. Period," said Peters.

MORE: California mayors ask Gov. Newsom for $3 billion over 3 years for homeless

The one behind this is Richmond's Mayor Tom Butt.

"Paying nonprofits to come in and provide showers for people and provide meals and clean up the camps and I've always said, baloney, what we need to do is put people into housing," said Mayor Butt.

Frustrated with how city council was responding to the homeless crisis in his city, he used the funds from the mayor's community fund and payed one-year of rent to house about nine families. Now, he has a month left in his term as mayor and is not stopping.

"Two to three months ago I ran out of funds for that, but I just got a grant from Chevron for $20,000. I've got another $4,000 in a GoFundMe account. So I'm going to put those together, $24,000, to buy an apartment for a year," said Mayor Butt.

Mayor Butt is hoping more landlords agree to house single moms like Brianni. That's the way he wants to end his decades in public service.

MORE: SF supervisors propose to offer shelter to every homeless individual in the city

"I don't think anything makes me happier than doing something like that for people. I don't have a lot of time left anyway and it's just before Christmas, and why not?" said Mayor Butt.

As for Brianni, she is ready for her Christmas miracle.

"I was going to decorate my trailer and stuff but I got that news. So now I just wait until I get there. Hopefully it is before Christmas because I'm ready. I'm ready. I wish it was tomorrow," said Brianni Peters.

A landlord in San Pablo agreed to house Brianni and her daughter. Brianni still doesn't have the move-in date, but is hopeful it will happen before Christmas so she can put her tree up.

Mayor Butt is hoping more people donate to his GoFundMe to house more families before his term is up. To donate, visit here.

To help donate to Brianni Peters, visit here.

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