Referrals from East Oakland Switchboard.

Services from East Oakland Switchboard will help income qualified residents of Alameda County avoid homelessness as well as hunger. The charity will assist people with accessing a wide number of local and national assistance programs, ranging from government grants to hot meals or boxes of food. As with many non-profits in the area, some of the main goals of the agency is on addressing hunger and homelessness in the city of Oakland as well as county. All resources are offered by referrals only.

The Housing Department coordinates many of the resources that revolve around addressing overdue rent or utility bills. The agency tries to offer stabilization assistance to qualified families in the community. All aid is limited, and priority is on assisting tenants or homeowners that are seeking to avoid eviction or homelessness.

Across the county of Alameda, there are multiple housing solutions available, ranging from grants from federal programs such as ESG to emergency shelter and stabilization from transitional housing. Clients will generally be living in their own home but are threatened with the loss of their housing because more than 50% of their income goes to rent. There is also usually support for the disabled or people with mental illness.

There may be Critical Housing Solutions available as part of Eviction Prevention. While the demand for assistance is high, and funding is limited, it may be able to address the growing need for emergency housing aid for low-income individuals. Any support is only for families that are out of options, and they can't be qualified for any other form of financial assistance from the government or other local charities. If East Oakland Switchboard is unable to help, applicants are referred to another agency that may be able to assist, or in some cases a loan will be used for the housing costs.

Funds from East Oakland Switchboard affiliated agencies will only cover a portion of an expense, and they will not pay an entire rent amount. So applicants need to have an income to pay the balance. The sames concept applies to residents that are seeking financial help for utility or paying heating bills. Individuals will need to demonstrate to the agency how they will be able to pay their utilities, rent or mortgage going forward.

OutReach is a combination of advice and other support. Based on resources, it provides some or all of the following. Clients can progress this this approach, and they they may be sometimes referred to financial aid at the end of the process.

  • Budgeting advice for participants.
  • Case management, meaning ongoing support.
  • Referrals to other non-profit and appropriate community resources.
  • Assistance with non-housing needs, such as local transportation to a job interview or clothing.





In order to enroll, qualifying households must have had a one-time documented crisis. This is not meant for families in ongoing poverty. So maybe the applicant had an unexpected job loss or illness in the family, and these are some of the people the aid is targeted at.

Staff provide clients with information on both non-profit and government grants available in the service area or that are even offered nationwide. The agency will also help screen applicants to see if they meet the qualifications outlined by the grantors. If they do, then staff from East Oakland Switchboard may be able to provide guidance on completing the applications to apply for any grant funds that someone may be eligible for.

As part of outreach, staff will do their best to help direct the household to other forms of assistance, if East Oakland Switchboard can't help. This is a fairly common solutions as most places do run out of money. This can also include referrals to other social services or government benefits that the household may qualify to receive.

Groceries and nutritional support is from the East Oakland Switchboard food bank. The non-profit provides services to low income and struggling families in Alameda County. The center also operates as client choice, meaning families have the ability to shop for their own needs and grocery items. This is a very effective hunger prevention tool in the area.

Many other services may be administered by the agency for disadvantaged residents. There is everything from clothing for work to referrals to holiday programs, and the staff will do their best to accommodate needs.

The switchboard is a leading social service agency to call for referrals. Dial (510) 569-6369.




By Jon McNamara

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