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Creating autonomous encampments on public and private land in Oakland. Providing those who have been displaced thru gentrification their basic needs and rights: housing, food, provisions, healing, and dignity. Using a diversity of tactics to reach our goals is neccessary in the current political, economic and historic moment we are in: direct action and policy reform. adverse possession and purchasing lands. reperations and self determination. serve the unsheltered and self governance of unsheltered.

About

#TheVillage first popped up at Marcus Garvey Park on 36th Street and MLK in Oakland. On the morning of Saturday, January 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members -both housed and unhoused -took over the neglected public plot in West Oakland. We intended to move in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic, and other services—declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic needs and services. Our group which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives, and various individuals and organizations from the community, said that the move-in demonstrated their ability to provide what the City of Oakland would not provide to its most vulnerable residents.
We aimed to demonstrate through our visionary encampment that housing is a human right. We also hoped to show that, in the face of a city government that fails to meet the needs of its people, it is possible for the community to unite to serve those on the street in a dignified and humane manner. We challenged the inaction of the City of Oakland, saying that the City has proven not been to be loyal to its long term families displaced in this city-initiated housing crisis. We broadcasted that the City has not implemented sufficient efforts to address homelessness, such as building permanent public housing, starting with housing for those who have been displaced by the housing crisis, particularly Black and Brown people.
The Village began moving onto the public land at MLK and 36th street in the middle of the night during the largest storm of the season and set up the village of services. The center of the village, became a community space reserved for daily people’s assemblies, and provided services to the residents and broader community in need. Volunteers started a health & healing clinic, hot home cooked meal service, 2 hot showers, raised gardens, a computer lab, adult education center, and a center for distributing donations to Oakland residents in need. The village was open to all who need services provided whether you live at the site or not. News of the encampment spread like wildfire throughout Oakland’s homeless community who dubbed it “The Promise Land”. Folks said that unlike The City and non profits, The Village made promises they kept.
The Village aka Promised Land was narcotics and alcohol free, and prioritized housing for Black and Brown folks, families, women, elders, and disabled folks. The encampment hoped to keep growing to be able to welcome more to be inclusive for anyone homeless residents in Oakland to move in, and to offer the appropriate services to meet their needs. Organizers also hoped that their version of what a compassionate community looks like would inspire others to reclaim public land in other parts of Oakland, and The Bay Area, and the country, to build similar havens of safety, service and community. 137 homeless residents signed up to get shelter and services at The Village and hoped to get the support they needed to get off drugs and alcohol.
However, in the early morning of February 2, 2017 Mayor Libby Schaff and her Administration sent a bulldozer and 80 pigs in riot gear to raid and bulldoze The Village. But the Mayor’s violent action and criminalization of Oakland’s humanitarian efforts merely turned our direct action into a powerful movement.
In 2017 we:
  • created the Homeless Advocacy Working Group to aggressively advocate for dignified services for our unsheltered neighbors
  • pressured the city to begin providing portapotties, potable water and trash pick up at 9 encampments (200 more to go)
  • provided support, defense, advocacy and documentation when encampments were under harassment and inhumane treatment
  • led the lobbying efforts to get city council to reinstate a shelter crisis ordinance – for two years, and backed with funding and a plan
  • increased city budget on homeless services from $250,000 a year to $750,000 (HAWG was pushing for $10 million tho)
  • successful advocated for the building of a second henry j. Robinson center
  • got the city to adopt and sanctioned our model which they originally bulldozed
  • shamed, watchdogged, shifted, and kept the fire on city hall
  • got the city to give us city owned land to build villages
  • got private landowners to give us land to build villages
  • served thousands of hot dinners to oaklands unsheltered
  • shared provisions to hundreds of oaklands unsheltered
  • passed out 800 masks to oaklands unhoused during the north bay fires
  • passed out 100 fire extinguishers to encampments
  • called a successfull #WinterHolidayDrive to get winter clothes and supplies to folks
  • called a successful bottled water drive during the heat wave
  • pushed the narative that gentrification is the cause for the housing crisis which in turned caused the homeless state of emergency, and the city is at fault for both. Only permanent no income/low income homes for all will solve both epidemics.
In 2018 we hit the ground running. In january 2018 we will:
  • begin building five villages throughout Oakland
  • support other groups who want to build emergency housing for the unsheltered
  • provide Village residents with jobs, job training, micro businesses
  • provide village residents with a variety of services and programs to help them get them on their feet and into permanent housing
  • provide curbside communities and Village residents with media training and political lobbying training
  • launch a political campaign (more details to come)
  • host the United Nations to visit encampments and document human rights abuses – continue to push for sanitation services at all encamoments
  • fight for and end the harrassment, closing and criminalizing homeless encampments – fight for no income and low income permanent housing developments .
The Village is not meant to be a permanent solution, but addresses the immediate needs and harm reduction of some of the City of Oakland’s more than 6,000 homeless residents. Oakland’s homeless population makes up 49.2% of all of Alameda County’s houseless. Homeless numbers are growing, spokespeople said, as a direct outcome of the city’s housing affordability crisis. The housing market in Oakland has skyrocketed, and a vast majority of landlords no longer accept Section 8 vouchers. Many of Oakland’s homeless residents have vouchers for Section 8 housing, but cannot find a rental agency that will accept the public housing program. Currently there are only 386 beds available in Oakland shelters.
The only permanent solution is the City of Oaland using their resources, their networks and their power to commit, execute and build permanent no income and low income housing. “Housing is a right. Being without a home is not a crime. The politicians that created this crisis are the criminals. Yet folks without shelters have been ignored, harassed, shuffled around, degraded, and criminalized. The responses from city officials, CalTrans, and police has not only been ineffective, but degrading and even criminal,” said #FeedThePeople member Chiedza Kundidzora. “ Institutions like CalTrans continually violate homeless communities’ constitutional rights with their protocol towards folks living under freeways. They seize and destroy people’s property without due process, and as a cruel and unusual punishment for circumstances that are treated as criminal.” she said. The Village was a response to several recent incidents, including a January 2017 fire at the Wood Street encampment, one of Oakland’s largest encampments. Some residents moving into the encampment were displaced by the fire on New Year’s Day. Others are choose to relocate to The Village seeking the safety, services and dignity the village offers. 24 hour security, hot showers, sturdy shelters, privacy, and community support are also incentives for residents.
The Village action was also inspired by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s call to #BeUngovernable and to “build and fight” to resist illegitimate government, most recently manifested by Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. The action took place a day after hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets and declared their cities to be zones free from displacement, mass deportations, registries, attacks on poor people, and corporate giveaways of public goods. Instead they called for protection and expansion of healthcare, housing, food, and free public education for all. “Today we stand in solidarity with the poor, houseless, and displaced people of Oakland, many of whom are Black and Brown. As #Asians4BlackLives, we realize that gentrification, inaccessible housing, and privatized public land are a part of the ongoing war on Black people, which also includes racist police violence. We support the leadership of the homeless folks moving into this camp, and stand together with them in the fight for dignity and the fight against displacement,” said Ellen Choy of #Asians4BlackLives.
Activists and residents hope to unite communities that face displacement, destruction, terror, poverty, and violence. We as housed and unhoused Oaklanders stand together in the fight for housing for all,promote self-determination in the face of an illegitimate government. And we dont stop. We are currently building our first village since Oakland City Council reinstated the Shelter Crisis Declaration and gave us the power to create villages and other forms of unhoused encampments in October 2017. Located in East Oakland at 23rd ave and East 12th street, we will build dozens of homes and services on site. We have four additional Villages slated to start up this January 2018 as well. If you are housed or unhoused and want to join our efforts to address, eliviate and ultimately end the systemic crisis of homelessness hollar!
ABOUT #FEED THE PEOPLE
#FeedthePeople, a collective of Oakland residents and activists, including some currently or formerly homeless, has been distributing food and supplies to homeless encampments in the East Bay for over a year. Every Wednesday, volunteers share hot home cooked meals, much needed supplies, hugs and support to people living on the street. They also provide advocacy and support to folks on the streets when they are harassed by police and politicians.

About

#TheVillage first popped up at Marcus Garvey Park on 36th Street and MLK in Oakland. On the morning of Saturday, January 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members -both housed and unhoused -took over the neglected public plot in West Oakland. We intended to move in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic, and other services—declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic needs and services. Our group which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives, and various individuals and organizations from the community, said that the move-in demonstrated their ability to provide what the City of Oakland would not provide to its most vulnerable residents.
We aimed to demonstrate through our visionary encampment that housing is a human right. We also hoped to show that, in the face of a city government that fails to meet the needs of its people, it is possible for the community to unite to serve those on the street in a dignified and humane manner. We challenged the inaction of the City of Oakland, saying that the City has proven not been to be loyal to its long term families displaced in this city-initiated housing crisis. We broadcasted that the City has not implemented sufficient efforts to address homelessness, such as building permanent public housing, starting with housing for those who have been displaced by the housing crisis, particularly Black and Brown people.
The Village began moving onto the public land at MLK and 36th street in the middle of the night during the largest storm of the season and set up the village of services. The center of the village, became a community space reserved for daily people’s assemblies, and provided services to the residents and broader community in need. Volunteers started a health & healing clinic, hot home cooked meal service, 2 hot showers, raised gardens, a computer lab, adult education center, and a center for distributing donations to Oakland residents in need. The village was open to all who need services provided whether you live at the site or not. News of the encampment spread like wildfire throughout Oakland’s homeless community who dubbed it “The Promise Land”. Folks said that unlike The City and non profits, The Village made promises they kept.
The Village aka Promised Land was narcotics and alcohol free, and prioritized housing for Black and Brown folks, families, women, elders, and disabled folks. The encampment hoped to keep growing to be able to welcome more to be inclusive for anyone homeless residents in Oakland to move in, and to offer the appropriate services to meet their needs. Organizers also hoped that their version of what a compassionate community looks like would inspire others to reclaim public land in other parts of Oakland, and The Bay Area, and the country, to build similar havens of safety, service and community. 137 homeless residents signed up to get shelter and services at The Village and hoped to get the support they needed to get off drugs and alcohol.
However, in the early morning of February 2, 2017 Mayor Libby Schaff and her Administration sent a bulldozer and 80 pigs in riot gear to raid and bulldoze The Village. But the Mayor’s violent action and criminalization of Oakland’s humanitarian efforts merely turned our direct action into a powerful movement.
In 2017 we:
  • created the Homeless Advocacy Working Group to aggressively advocate for dignified services for our unsheltered neighbors
  • pressured the city to begin providing portapotties, potable water and trash pick up at 9 encampments (200 more to go)
  • provided support, defense, advocacy and documentation when encampments were under harassment and inhumane treatment
  • led the lobbying efforts to get city council to reinstate a shelter crisis ordinance – for two years, and backed with funding and a plan
  • increased city budget on homeless services from $250,000 a year to $750,000 (HAWG was pushing for $10 million tho)
  • successful advocated for the building of a second henry j. Robinson center
  • got the city to adopt and sanctioned our model which they originally bulldozed
  • shamed, watchdogged, shifted, and kept the fire on city hall
  • got the city to give us city owned land to build villages
  • got private landowners to give us land to build villages
  • served thousands of hot dinners to oaklands unsheltered
  • shared provisions to hundreds of oaklands unsheltered
  • passed out 800 masks to oaklands unhoused during the north bay fires
  • passed out 100 fire extinguishers to encampments
  • called a successfull #WinterHolidayDrive to get winter clothes and supplies to folks
  • called a successful bottled water drive during the heat wave
  • pushed the narative that gentrification is the cause for the housing crisis which in turned caused the homeless state of emergency, and the city is at fault for both. Only permanent no income/low income homes for all will solve both epidemics.
In 2018 we hit the ground running. In january 2018 we will:
  • begin building five villages throughout Oakland
  • support other groups who want to build emergency housing for the unsheltered
  • provide Village residents with jobs, job training, micro businesses
  • provide village residents with a variety of services and programs to help them get them on their feet and into permanent housing
  • provide curbside communities and Village residents with media training and political lobbying training
  • launch a political campaign (more details to come)
  • host the United Nations to visit encampments and document human rights abuses – continue to push for sanitation services at all encamoments
  • fight for and end the harrassment, closing and criminalizing homeless encampments – fight for no income and low income permanent housing developments .
The Village is not meant to be a permanent solution, but addresses the immediate needs and harm reduction of some of the City of Oakland’s more than 6,000 homeless residents. Oakland’s homeless population makes up 49.2% of all of Alameda County’s houseless. Homeless numbers are growing, spokespeople said, as a direct outcome of the city’s housing affordability crisis. The housing market in Oakland has skyrocketed, and a vast majority of landlords no longer accept Section 8 vouchers. Many of Oakland’s homeless residents have vouchers for Section 8 housing, but cannot find a rental agency that will accept the public housing program. Currently there are only 386 beds available in Oakland shelters.
The only permanent solution is the City of Oaland using their resources, their networks and their power to commit, execute and build permanent no income and low income housing. “Housing is a right. Being without a home is not a crime. The politicians that created this crisis are the criminals. Yet folks without shelters have been ignored, harassed, shuffled around, degraded, and criminalized. The responses from city officials, CalTrans, and police has not only been ineffective, but degrading and even criminal,” said #FeedThePeople member Chiedza Kundidzora. “ Institutions like CalTrans continually violate homeless communities’ constitutional rights with their protocol towards folks living under freeways. They seize and destroy people’s property without due process, and as a cruel and unusual punishment for circumstances that are treated as criminal.” she said. The Village was a response to several recent incidents, including a January 2017 fire at the Wood Street encampment, one of Oakland’s largest encampments. Some residents moving into the encampment were displaced by the fire on New Year’s Day. Others are choose to relocate to The Village seeking the safety, services and dignity the village offers. 24 hour security, hot showers, sturdy shelters, privacy, and community support are also incentives for residents.
The Village action was also inspired by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s call to #BeUngovernable and to “build and fight” to resist illegitimate government, most recently manifested by Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. The action took place a day after hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets and declared their cities to be zones free from displacement, mass deportations, registries, attacks on poor people, and corporate giveaways of public goods. Instead they called for protection and expansion of healthcare, housing, food, and free public education for all. “Today we stand in solidarity with the poor, houseless, and displaced people of Oakland, many of whom are Black and Brown. As #Asians4BlackLives, we realize that gentrification, inaccessible housing, and privatized public land are a part of the ongoing war on Black people, which also includes racist police violence. We support the leadership of the homeless folks moving into this camp, and stand together with them in the fight for dignity and the fight against displacement,” said Ellen Choy of #Asians4BlackLives.
Activists and residents hope to unite communities that face displacement, destruction, terror, poverty, and violence. We as housed and unhoused Oaklanders stand together in the fight for housing for all,promote self-determination in the face of an illegitimate government. And we dont stop. We are currently building our first village since Oakland City Council reinstated the Shelter Crisis Declaration and gave us the power to create villages and other forms of unhoused encampments in October 2017. Located in East Oakland at 23rd ave and East 12th street, we will build dozens of homes and services on site. We have four additional Villages slated to start up this January 2018 as well. If you are housed or unhoused and want to join our efforts to address, eliviate and ultimately end the systemic crisis of homelessness hollar!
ABOUT #FEED THE PEOPLE
#FeedthePeople, a collective of Oakland residents and activists, including some currently or formerly homeless, has been distributing food and supplies to homeless encampments in the East Bay for over a year. Every Wednesday, volunteers share hot home cooked meals, much needed supplies, hugs and support to people living on the street. They also provide advocacy and support to folks on the streets when they are harassed by police and politicians.

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