Kimberlee Burks, a member of the Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless Consumer/COmmunity Advisory Board (ACHCH CCAB), passed away last week, felled by a sudden cerebral bleed. She was 52 years old, and leaves behind a grieving family and community. Kimberlee was the single most active and important person to those experiencing homelessness in Hayward, CA. Emerging from her own experience of homelessness, she never lost her connection and care for those around her. She was one of the original organizers of the BlueHouse, a drop-in center for Hayward people experiencing homelessness, which became the White House in downtown Hayward where it was closed down due to business opposition. She advocated for and then ran the Hayward Winter warming center, and ran the informal safe parking program at South Hayward Parish.
Kimberlee was working at Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) where she worked tirelessly to house disabled persons and taught independent living and transportation skills. She also maintained the Hayward GRID list of homeless service sites. Kimberlee was a key member of the ACHCH CCAB for the past four years. A year ago, Kimberlee was awarded an Alameda County Local Hero Award by the ACHCH CCAB at their 2018 Summer Solstice event. Kimberlee participated and spoke at the 2017 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference in Washington, DC.
Kimberlee also worked closely with the ACHCH staff in coordinating care for the hundreds of people experiencing homelessness that she worked with night and day. Kimberlee was an inspiration to all those around her, a light in the darkness around her, passionate and driven by love, who touched literally thousands of people in crisis. She worked in a hard place, Hayward - and all can agree that the movement that Hayward has made in recent years towards compassion and care for its homeless residents has been fruit of Kimberlee's dedicated and never ending work.
A Celebration of Love will be carried out on Saturday, June 15th at First Presbyterian Church of Hayward in Castro Valley: 2490 Grove Way, Castro Valley 94546; 10am-12pm.
We love you and will miss you, Kimberlee. We will continue our common work in your memory and with you in our thoughts.