“Nowhere Else to Go”: Housing and Dignity Village Encampment & Service Center Led by Unhoused Women of Color Faces Eviction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Oakland, CA – The City of Oakland has posted an eviction notice at Housing and Dignity Village (HDV), an encampment that shelters 13 unhoused Oakland residents of color in deep East Oakland. The encampment has also provided an array of services to more than 200 housed and unhoused residents of the Brookfield neighborhood.
The eviction is scheduled to occur on Wednesday, December 5th at 7:30 a.m., at South Elmhurst Avenue and Edes Avenue. Housed and unhoused supporters from all over Oakland will be standing in solidarity with HDV on Wednesday as they demand the City upgrade, not evict, the encampment.
Six HDV residents are currently plaintiffs in an ongoing civil rights lawsuit against the City of Oakland, and were recently denied a preliminary injunction against eviction. Their lawsuit, Miralle vs. City of Oakland, argues that the City’s practice of forced evictions violates their Eighth Amendment rights. They cite Martin vs. Boise, a recent ruling that unhoused people who are staying on public land when shelter is unavailable should not be criminalized. In his denial of the preliminary injunction, the presiding judge Hon. Haywood Gilliam, Jr. accepted the City’s false claims that HDV residents were offered shelter but refused, and that the City does not criminalize unhoused people for being on public land, overlooking dozens of sworn testimonies by unhoused Oakland residents.
“The shelter offered by the City is absolutely inadequate,” said HDV resident and leader Yana Johnson. “In Oakland, there are 460 shelter beds total available for over 9,000 unsheltered people on any given night. These 460 shelter beds do not serve women with children, people with pets, or any working person who has night shifts. Under this criteria, a majority of residents of HDV are totally excluded from shelters, which are often only available for one night.”
Six plaintiffs and seven residents, accompanied by legal observers, will document where exactly the city plans on “housing” them for the still-ongoing civil rights lawsuit.
Residents and plaintiffs also cite a new civil rights violation through this eviction: a silencing of the well-organized camp’s First Amendment rights.
“We are getting shut down because we are outspoken advocates,” said Needa Bee, a primary plaintiff in Miralle and founder of The Village. “This is a political decision to silence residents, who are advocates not just for themselves but for all unhoused people in Oakland. We are being targeted by City officials for our political engagement. (This is) not a health and safety decision. Meanwhile encampments throughout Oakland are in crisis – neglected and ignored.”
Advocates for HDV are calling on supporters to contact Mayor Libby Schaaf, Assistant to City Administrator Joe DeVries, and Council Member At-Large Rebecca Kaplan, via phone and email to stop this unjustifiable, cruel and unusual eviction. Supporters should ask the City to instead follow the recommendations put forth by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, for local governments to upgrade and support, rather than criminalize and evict encampments:
Attempting to discourage residents from remaining in informal settlements or encampments by denying access to water, sanitation and health services and other basic necessities, as has been witnessed by the Special Rapporteur in San Francisco and Oakland, California, United States of America, constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment and is a violation of multiple human rights, including the rights to life, housing, health and water and sanitation. [Para 46, emph. added]
Joe deVries – Assistant to the City Administrator – (510) 238-3083 – JDeVries@oaklandca.gov
Rebecca Kaplan – Council Rep. at Large – (510) 238-7008 – Atlarge@oaklandnet.com
Candice Elder, Founder and Executive Director, The East Oakland Collective
NEW VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/304196572
For photos and videos, see https://thevillageinoakland.org/photo-video-gallery/
About The Village:
The Village began as a grassroots movement in December of 2016, creating autonomous encampments on public and private land in Oakland, and providing the basic needs and rights of housing, food, provisions, healing, and dignity to those who have been displaced by gentrification . A diversity of tactics is necessary to reach our goals in the current political, economic and historic moment: . direct action and policy reform; adverse possession and purchasing lands; reparations and self-determination; services for the unsheltered and self-governance of the unsheltered. Learn more at https://thevillageinoakland.org.
About The East Oakland Collective:
The East Oakland Collective (EOC) is a member-based community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by working towards racial and economic equity. With programming in civic engagement and leadership, economic empowerment and homeless services and solutions, we help amplify underserved communities from the ground up. We are committed to driving impact in the landscape, politics and economic climate of deep East Oakland. Learn more at http://www.eastoaklandcollective.com.