In December 2021, the City applied to the State of California for an $8.3 million grant to establish a 100-bed shelter program on the second portion of the Game Changer lot located at 2601 Wood Street. The application included a letter of support from Caltrans that committed 40 of the beds for use by Caltrans in clearing State property. In March 2022, the City was awarded $4.7 million, and in October 2022, the City was notified it would receive the remaining $3.6 million to fully fund the site to house approximately 100 people.
By January 2023, the City plans to complete construction of the community cabin site on the remainder of the Game Changer lot. The site will support the unsheltered residents of Wood Street, including those camped on the City-owned property at 1707 Wood Street, whose presence has been delaying construction of a 184-unit, 100% affordable housing development. This emergency shelter program will include housing navigation and employment services. Residents will be able to stay at the Cabin Village for approximately 6 months.
Site Design & Amenities
The plan consists of a total of 70 cabins for individuals, 12 double cabins for couples (housing 24 people total), and six accessible cabins for people with disabilities. Residents will have 24/7 access to the site and are welcome to bring their pets. The site will be designed to include:
- Bathroom and shower facilities
- Community kitchen and eating space
- Community building
- Limited secured storage for residents’ personal belongings
- 24/7 security
- Vehicle parking
Each cabin will be designed to include:
- A secure, locked door and windows
- A wall-mounted heater, an overhead light and at least two electrical outlets
- A single bed and desk/table with shelves/storage space
A site management organization will be confirmed in the future and other details will be developed with the community, including visitor hours, internet access, onsite meals, etc.
Wood Street Community Outreach Process
The CIty’s goal is to collaborate with the unsheltered residents on Wood Street to design the site to align with community needs. To date, the planning team has held two onsite meetings, each attended by approximately 30 Wood Street residents during this design process. Outreach teams went onsite distributing flyers and meeting information and engaging residents one by one to inform them of the meeting time and location.
Background on the Community Cabin Model
Community Cabin sites are an emergency intervention designed to serve as a temporary bridge from the sidewalk to services, from the street to housing.
This intervention addresses the significant safety and sanitation impacts to both unsheltered residents and their sheltered neighbors that arise from encampments.
The Wood Street Community Cabins add to sites at Oak Street, 27th & Northgate, Lake Merritt, 3rd and Peralta, Miller Ave and Mandela North and South that were developed since the Oakland community cabin model began in 2018. Each location was chosen in response to persistent public health and safety hazards at an existing large encampment.
Community Cabin sites provide residents with basic services as they work with on-site case managers to transition into maximum self-sufficiency and permanent housing. The sites afford a consistency not found in the encampments: a hard roof to sleep under every night; an already established community network of friends and consistent resources; a supportive staff of case managers to connect residents to vital needs such as acquiring California ID, securing benefits, seeking employment, and ultimately getting housed.
The goal is for people to move in, receive services, and move on to the next step on their path to housing in about 6 months. Deciding to enter the program is 100% voluntary, and people can come and go 24/7; however, residents are expected to work with their care coordinators to craft a plan forward. The sites are designed to be extremely low barrier, with minimal rules. Participants are asked to abide by a Code of Conduct that is designed to maintain a healthy and safe community.
Each site has approximately $100,000 in flexible housing funds to assist clients in overcoming any barriers to housing, including security deposits and a few months of rent subsidy, clothing for job interviews or a new job, and transportation assistance related to employment or reunification with friends or family. These flex funds contribute to greater housing outcomes through the Community Cabin sites than would be possible for the general population of people living in encampments.
Background on Homelessness and the Housing Affordability Crisis
In the past decade, not enough housing was created to match job growth in the Bay Area, and very little of the housing built was subsidized enough to help people in need. While the homeless population is rising, the federal government decreased its financial support for emergency shelter strategies, and the State eliminated redevelopment funding in 2011, which was the primary funding source cities used to build affordable housing.
The last point-in-time homeless count, conducted in February 2022, estimated that there are 5,055 people experiencing homelessness in Oakland, of whom 3,337 are unsheltered. Between 2017 and 2022, the number of unsheltered residents in Oakland increased dramatically. Details and demographic information can be found at EveryOne Home.
The City’s Approach to Affordable Housing
The City of Oakland is required by the State of California to create over 10,000 units of affordable housing by 2030, based on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA.) To address this challenge, the City adopted the “3 P’s” framework to protect Oaklanders from displacement, preserve the existing affordable housing stock, and produce new, deeply affordable housing units. The City has focused on creating new housing units for unhoused Oaklanders through its new construction pipeline. In 2021, Oakland’s completed housing projects included 489 affordable housing units: of that, 138 were for people experiencing homelessness.