District 5 Fall 2019 Newsletter


Fall 2019 Newsletter

A quarterly update for the residents of District 5

District 5 of Alameda County includes Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, and parts of Oakland. 



  • Census 2020

  • Winter Shelters

  • Mental Health 101

  • Supporting Unhoused Neighbors


If you're in Alameda County and you or someone you know needs support, Crisis Support Services of Alameda County is available to help 24/7 at 1-800-309-2131. Youth can also text the word "safe" to 20121 between 4pm-11pm daily. You do not need to be experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings to call.

Never miss out on D5 News!


Every week, our office sends out the Wednesday Weekly, an e-update on the various community meetings and events taking place in and around District 5.  Don't miss out on the wealth of activities our district has to offer! 

Sign up to receive the Weekly and our quarterly newsletter here: bit.ly/2Kmqz1p

Are you a veteran?


Alameda County Veterans Service Office (VSO) provides veterans, their dependents and/or survivors with information regarding veterans benefits, and assistance with filing benefit claims, waivers and appeals, in order to obtain and maintain all eligable benefits and entitlements.

Learn more:
M-F: (510) 577-1926

Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255, press 1
Text 838255

Keep California Golden!


The choices you make around your home can add up to a lot more efficient energy usage. Find out how to get smart on energy savings at energyupgradeca.org.

Do you receive SSI?

Don't miss out on food benefits!


Many SSI recipients are now eligible for CalFresh Food Benefits. There is NO CHANGE or reduction to SSI/SSP amounts.


Online: GetCalFresh.org

Call: 1-877-847-3663


ACGOV Vision 2026 is Alameda County’s comprehensive effort to set a course for the next decade that anticipates community challenges and maximizes our ability to meet residents’ needs in a rapidly changing world. Our vision of the future and the goals and guiding principles you see here grew from extensive collaboration involving Alameda County leaders and other local officials who are "facing forward" to promote communities that are vibrant, prosperous, safe, healthy and inclusive.

To learn more, visit: vision2026.acgov.org 


Join Team Carson at these upcoming community events:

January 20
Berkeley MLK Jr. Breakfast

February 19
Beloved Oakland

February 23
Black Joy Parade

Sign up for emergency alerts!


AC Alert is the Mass Notification System used by City and County agencies throughout Alameda County to rapidly disseminate emergency alerts to people who live, work in, or visit our County. AC Alert is capable of sending alerts by voice, text and email, as well as messaging Nixle subscribers, posting to social media pages, and sending FEMA Wireless Alerts (WEA).

To make sure we can reach you in an emergency, when you need to take protective actions, register with AC Alert at www.acalert.org.

Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP)


For over 15 years, Alameda County has proudly declared itself as a “Welcoming Community”. Our public services have always been available to all who live in Alameda County, regardless of immigration status.

If you suspect ICE activity or if you or a loved one has been detained, the Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP) is available to help.

(510) 241-4011




Connect With Us!

















Welcome to the District 5 Fall 2019 Newsletter!  There is a great deal of important information to read about that I hope you will find useful, including Census 2020, Mental Health First Aid training, and tips for supporting unhoused residents of Alameda County.

My staff and I look forward to seeing many of you at the various community holiday events that will be taking place over the next several weeks, including the Annual East Bay Holiday Party & Toiletry Drive I am co-hosting with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, State Senator Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks on Monday, December 9, 2019.

As always, if my office can be of any assistance with any county-related matters, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Wishing you a blessed and joyful holiday season!

-Keith Carson

Census 2020 is Coming!


Every ten years, since 1790, the Census Bureau counts everyone living in the country to collect basic information including: age, sex, and race, for every adult, child and baby. Census 2020 will not ask about citizenship status.

Starting in March of 2020, everyone will be asked to complete the 2020 census online, by phone, or by mail. Questionnaire Assistance Centers will be located throughout the community, providing the public with access to computers and support in completing the Census. Responses are confidential, and protected by law.

Why is the Census important? The Census gives us data about our community, informs the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding, and determines the number of decision-makers representing us.

Alameda County gets billions of dollars from the federal government for essential services -- healthcare, school programs, housing, transportation, social services and more -- based solely on the census count. An undercount means fewer resources for everyone - for every person not counted, our community loses $10,000 over the next 10 years.



Supervisor Carson with the Piedmont League of Women Voters

Over the past several months, my office has been hosting a series of town hall meetings in District 5 to share information about why it is important to participate in the census, what efforts are being made to count "hard to reach" populations, and how individuals can become involved to ensure everyone in our community is counted.  Additional town halls will be held in early 2020, including one on February 13 at UC Berkeley, and one on February 20 at the Ed Roberts Campus, in Berkeley.  Check back on my website soon for details and to RSVP.



Work for the Census! The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people for temporary jobs across the country. Census positions offer the opportunity to earn extra income, while at the same time, helping your community. Positions are temporary, flexible, and pay $25 per hour in Alameda County. 

Interested? Join me on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at the West Oakland Job Resource Center for a Census 2020 Job Application Workshop. There, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Census 2020 jobs and complete the online application. RSVP: census2020jobs_westoak.eventbrite.com

My office will be hosting additional job workshops, which will be announced shortly.

You may also read more about and apply for Census jobs directly at: 2020census.gov/jobs.

Winter Shelter and Warming Center Resources


The rainy season has finally arrived, and many individuals and families in our community are unhoused and exposed to the elements.

If you or someone you know is in need of a warm, dry place to stay, check out the list of countywide Winter Shelters (open every night during the winter months) and Warming Centers* (shelters open only in rainy or cold weather) operated in Alameda County. 


Please call 2-1-1 (Eden Information and Referral) for additional information about accessing shelters, transitional housing, and other emergency housing in Alameda County.

*Warming Centers are not open every night, but only when weather is cold or rainy. Please call the center first to make sure they are open.

Mental Health 101


Lately, we have been hearing from clergy in District 5 that they are being asked more frequently to assist congregants with mental health issues and do not feel adequately trained to assist or have the information and resources to know where to refer people who need professional help. 

To start to address the needs of clergy in our community and to help them better serve their congregants, I partnered with Alameda County Behavioral Health on Tuesday, October 15th at the First Congregational Church, in Oakland, to deliver Mental Health 101: Early Signs and Symptoms for Faith Based Communities.  This workshop provided a specially tailored introduction to early signs and symptoms of mental illness experienced by individuals, as well as the impact of complex trauma on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.  The workshop was attended by 75 clergy and lay leaders of all faiths.  While it just scratched the surface of mental health information and resources available to our community, we hope it is the start of a conversation. 



One opportunity we would like to bring to your attention is Mental Health First Aid Training.  Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.  More information about the course can be found at mentalhealthfirstaid.org/about/

If you or someone in your congregation is interested in becoming certified in a clergy/lay leader cohort, please fill out this brief questionnaire and someone will be back in touch with dates.

Supporting Unhoused Neighbors 


During this season of giving, we know that many of you are eager to give generously, particularly to neighbors who are unhoused and living in encampments.  However, knowing exactly what to give or how to help can be tricky, especially because needs change depending on location and living conditions. Additionally, giving away whatever unused/unwanted items you may have, while thoughtful, can be more of a burden for individuals if those items are not needed or usable to a particular encampment. Food can be challenging as well, as many folks do not have access to safe food storage (including refrigeration). 

Here are a few simple recommendations on how you can effectively support immediate needs of our unhoused neighbors: 

Gift Cards: Consider giving gift cards - either to a local, nearby store (Walgreens, CVS, Target, Dollar Tree) or a cafe/quick-service restaurant/grocery store.  This allows individuals to have choice and buy the items and food they are in most need of. 

Winter Weather Items: During the wet, cold winter months, items such as hats, gloves, new socks, and rain ponchos are especially helpful.  Tarps and waterproof storage containers may be needed as well.

Ask the Advocates: We are fortunate to have many grassroots advocates, community based organizations, and churches who work tirelessly to support unhoused residents in District 5 and throughout Alameda County.  They have direct access to these communities and are the experts on how to most effectively assist them.  The following are just a very small sampling of groups you can reach out to:

Where Do We Go Berkeley?
Winter Fundraising Page: http://bit.ly/2OnVPyA

It’s Cold in These Streets!
Organized by East Oakland Collective & The Village in Oakland

Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS)
To find out what to donate and how, reach out to:
Gwen Austin, Head of Development
(510) 649-1930 Ext. x1001, gaustin@self-sufficiency.org

Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program
(510) 499-1263