OPDC discusses new community resources at Tuesday meeting


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The Oakland Planning and Development Corp. held its first meeting since February on Tuesday evening.

By Mary Rose O'Donnell, Contributing Editor

Although they may not be able to come into the office on a regular basis, the Oakland Planning and Development Corp. continues to serve the Oakland community during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its most vulnerable members.

OPDC discussed these efforts during its Oakland-wide community Zoom meeting on Tuesday evening. Wanda Wilson, OPDC’s executive director, led the meeting that discussed many of the resources available to help Oakland residents during this difficult period, which include hot meals, delivery services and help with financial planning.

Jarrett Crowell, OPDC’s community planning and outreach coordinator, said the Frazier Fieldhouse in South Oakland is offering hot meals for those in need on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. According to Crowell, this program was organized with help from the South Oakland Neighborhood Group, Friendship Community Church, Feed the Hood and Confluence Catering.

“It’s been a total group effort,” Crowell said. “I really want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible.”

Crowell added that Oakland Commonwealth Church has been sewing masks and delivering items to residents in need. He also said it is important to reach out to fellow Oakland residents during this time to see if they need help or need any essential items such as face masks or services like grocery delivery.

“I’ve been doing a lot of phone call check-ins with our Oakland residents and a lot of older adults here in the neighborhood to make sure everyone is doing OK and to see if I can connect them with a bunch of different resources,” Crowell said.

OPDC also offers financial counseling to people across the City via the Financial Opportunity Center, which now operates remotely through phone calls and video chat. Camille Dixon, the FOC’s financial coach, said the Center is now equipped to counsel individuals on pandemic-related financial issues, including how to apply for unemployment and details of the CARES Act.

“Even if you’re not having any issues at this time, if you know someone that does need assistance and does need the extra help understanding and navigating what your rights are and knowing what your next step should be, please reach out,” Dixon said.

Wilson also discussed a few community updates at the meeting. She reminded community members that Ward 4’s polling location for the upcoming June 2 primary election is Posvar Hall, and encouraged people to fill out the 2020 census. Tom Chunchick, a representative from Paramount Construction Services, gave a presentation about the two duplexes it plans to build on Joncaire Street and answered questions from community members about the project.