City of Oakland plans 'co-governed encampments' at 3rd & Peralta, E. 12th St & 2nd Ave

Peter Finley Fry

I read that LA has over 60,000 people house less   

Peter Finley Fry
303 NW Uptown Terrace #1B
Portland, Oregon 97210
503 703-8033 

On Jul 26, 2021, at 11:20 PM, Tim McCormick via <tmccormick@...> wrote:

expected to open by Labor Day, said Justin Tombolesi, an aide to Councilwoman Carroll Fife. The site is in Fife’s district.

Tim McCormick

[Moderator note: off the bat, I'm skeptical (as usual) of this story/development because it doesn't mention any organization or persons representing the houseless, either as being involved or offering any comment (other than James Vann of the Homeless Advocacy Working Group, an estimable figure but not apparently involved specifically in the initiatives) 

There's a whole array of committed, effective, houseless-centered groups & leaders working on this in Oakland, like Cob on Wood, & The Village in Oakland 

 so I'm doubtful that a "city-run" effort not mentioning/involving any is on a path to real "co-governing". 

Also, I note that structures seem already selected, "wooden pallet structures" (which is, what?) in one case, Pallet Shelters in the other. Predetermining this is, I'd suggest, generally not what a real self-determining community effort would likely do. "Housing is a verb," as J.F.C. Turner's maxim & essay title (1972) says. 

"City leaders have long expressed a desire to open a co-governed encampment, where the residents would work with service providers to maintain the site."

This sounds like unpaid maintenance work, not self-determination, and no possibility of deciding to ''maintain' ie continue the sites, past the temporary lease of CalTrans or in-development site by the City. You can 'invest' your labor, comrades, it's just you dont get to keep or decide anything, seems like.


"This Oakland homeless encampment will be co-run by the residents themselves"

by Sarah Ravani,

July 26, 2021 10:50 PM

The city will lease a vacant lot from Caltrans at Third and Peralta streets at no cost for three years and provide wooden-pallet shelters to residents as part of an effort to address its skyrocketing homelessness crisis.

In 2019, the most recent data available, Oakland counted more than 3,200 unsheltered people on city streets out of a total homeless population of more than 4,000 — a nearly 68% increase from 2017. That number has likely increased during the pandemic.

The Third and Peralta streets site is expected to open by Labor Day, said Justin Tombolesi, an aide to Councilwoman Carroll Fife. The site is in Fife’s district.

Tombolesi said the city will canvass current encampments under threat of displacement by Caltrans, which has indicated it wants to clear some encampments on its land in Oakland, to move to the city-run site.

The city has struggled to help its growing homeless population. A scathing April report from the city auditor’s office found Oakland officials lacked an effective strategy in dealing with a growing number of unsheltered residents living on city streets and failed to provide policy direction and adequate funding to handle the crisis.

Since then, city council members and the administration have worked to find alternate solutions to address the need. In March, the administration released a report that listed vacant city-owned sites in each council district that could be used for homeless interventions.

The report stated that $3.9 million of unused funds allocated for homelessness are available. All of those funds will be used to pay for the Third and Peralta streets co-governed encampment and a second one planned for near Lake Merritt. The Housing Consortium of the East Bay will operate both sites.

City leaders have long expressed a desire to open a co-governed encampment, where the residents would work with service providers to maintain the site.

James Vann, one of the founders of the Homeless Advocacy Working Group in Oakland, said co-governed encampments can be key in providing emergency shelter. And a “co-governed” model allows residents to have autonomy and responsibility, he added.

The exact details of how the co-governed encampment at Third and Peralta streets will run have not yet been determined.

Other Bay Area cities have pursued similar interventions. San Francisco has city-sanctioned tent encampments. Berkeley also wanted to open an outdoor city-sanctioned tent site, but instead decided to open an indoor tent shelter earlier this month. But these interventions are different than Oakland’s co-governed encampment model, which relies on residents to maintain the properties and provides wooden-pallet shelters.

“In a more democratic fashion, it turns over a lot of the responsibility for the arrangement — the management, the upkeep of an encampment — to the residents themselves,” he added.

Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas also has plans for a co-governed encampment at East 12th Street and Second Avenue on a vacant lot. A developer eventually plans to break ground on 361 homes at the site, but until then, Bas said she plans to build pallet shelters with electricity for 60 people.

Justin Tombolesi. Constituent Liaison. Office of the City Council. jtombolesi@...

Sarah Ravani, SF Chronicle

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Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon