The longstanding encampment on the median along East 12th Street, 18th Ave. to 14th Ave. has long posed various public health and safety concerns for those living nearby; business owners; encampment residents themselves; and has exacerbated traffic safety concerns.
From 2018 through 2020, Oakland firefighters responded to calls for 88 confirmed fires at this site, and fires increased significantly since then, with 53 confirmed fires in 2021 alone. In the last year, Oakland police have responded to multiple counts of assault, shootings, arson – and a homicide. Public works and transportation staff have responded to numerous, persistent reports that streetlights, traffic signals, and other essential safety infrastructure elements are frequently vandalized. The location is also a hotspot for illegal dumping and dumped, stripped, and/or stolen vehicles.
The Encampment Management Team has conducted multiple operations from April 2022 to the present at this site. Deep cleanings, debris removals and encampment closures took place in April, June, August, and October, 2022.
The next operation will take place October 27 to remove additional structures and debris and deep clean the site.
As a result of the Team’s phased operational approach and support from LAO Family Community Development Center, working with Operation Dignity, 17 individuals so far have been directly connected to services, permanent housing, and temporary hotels while in transition to shelter or permanent housing.
LAO Family Development has been onsite during the duration of the operations to provide food, water, access to cell phones, and information regarding a host of services, including job readiness, employment, and housing. Outreach teams and LAO Family Development are working closely with any individuals who remain at the site to develop a plan for shelter and employment.
Oakland Police Department Service Technicians have removed and cited more than 30 vehicles, many of them stolen vehicles.
Public works crews have removed more than 100 tons of debris and abandoned structures, including many large two-story structures that had been built in the median and were at risk of falling to the roadway.
Restoration of the site is dependent on availability of materials, and will include methods to prevent re-encampment. Public infrastructure will be repaired and restored, including streetlights, traffic signals, and road striping.
The City’s encampment management and outreach teams have been visiting this encampment weekly since its re-encampment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Outreach visits include offering and distributing harm reduction supplies, including blankets, hygiene kits, food, water, and PPE supplies as a response to the pandemic.
Alameda County’s Health Care for the Homeless Street Medicine program also works to provide supportive services, client care coordination, and harm reduction when possible. The Street Medicine teams visit the site to engage with residents with medical needs. The services offered include, but are not limited to:
- Wellness checks
- Medical-assisted substance use treatment
- Psychological assessments
- Routine and as-needed COVID testing
- COVID-19 vaccinations
This work is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the City of Oakland’s Encampment Management Policy (City Council resolution 88341). This location is considered a high-sensitivity area as defined in the policy, as the encampment is obstructing the City’s essential right of way with illegal structures. The policy states that “high-sensitivity areas are locations where the health and safety impacts of homeless encampments are heightened due to the potential degradation of critical infrastructure, restriction of public amenities or services, or significant obstructions to… businesses.”
Additional regulations and guiding documents include, but are not limited to:
- Offer of Shelter Policy (City Council resolution 88077)
- 9th Circuit decision in Martin v. Boise
- Applicable CDC guidelines
To learn more about how the City of Oakland is working to address homelessness, including how you can get involved and help, please go to the Oakland’s Response to Homelessness web page.
If you or someone you know is hungry, homeless, or housing insecure, please call 2-1-1.