Tuesday, October 18th
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oakland, CA - Homelessness, once again, dominated public comment during the October 18th special meeting of the Oakland City Council. Councilmember Carroll Fife called on the Mayor and the City Administration to immediately embark on a two-pronged strategy to secure a safe location for hundreds of unhoused District 3 residents, specially those displaced by the Wood St. encampment eviction.
As an urgent response to the CalTrans evictions, the Councilmember urged the City to open a city-leased lot on Beach Street for temporary housing, designed to meet the immediate needs of the unhoused community displaced from Wood St. Several vacant CalTrans-owned properties are in close proximity to the Wood St. site and the City Administrator has been in contact with CalTrans since the Spring of 2022 for the City use of these sites for emergency transitional interventions while she continues to work on long-term solutions.. The Councilmember questioned why the City Administration has not been previously forthcoming about what is available at the site even though the City Administration has been aware of it. The Councilmember motioned for the City to move forward with the planning required to provision the site and the motion was approved.
Additionally, the Councilmember also motioned for the City Administrator to seek a waiver from the Governor and Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to utilize the former Oakland Army Base as a housing intervention for displaced residents of the Wood St. encampment and others. The site will be limited to eight acres of the total site area, and could accommodate approximately 300 people. The motion was approved, amended to be $100,000 of the $180,000 requested by the City Administration to complete the waiver request.
“My district doesn't have the luxury of waiting years for the administration to figure out solutions that never materialize – people need a place to go today,” said Councilmember Fife. “The trickle-down theory that market-rate developments will relieve our affordable housing crunch does not work. It’s time for a new approach. There is no time to waste: the City must take advantage of vacant and underutilized properties to provide unhoused people a safe place to exist while we work towards improving the delivery of homelessness services and create the type of housing Oakland desperately needs.”
As Oakland’s twin crises of affordability and homelessness reach record heights, both housed and unhoused residents have grown increasingly frustrated by the City’s failure to make meaningful progress on creating appropriate housing solutions.