For the past three Villages we have created, we built on unoccupied land.
This fourth effort was in partnership with an existing curbside community located on a median in East Oakland.
Since 2008 there has been a tent city/shanty on this median. Except when the city bulldozed this community in November 2017, and then when the city attempted (but failed due to the resident filing a restraining order and lawsuit against the city) to bulldoze this community – politicians and service providers have ignored the unhoused community.
Three of the residents were former residents of the 2nd Village at e12th and 23rd Ave. before it was bulldozed. Those same residents were either not accepted into the City’s tuff shed program or evicted out of the Tuff Shed program. While at E12th & 23rd Ave., one of the residents used The Village blueprints and support from The Village building committee to build his own home. With support from the San Francisco Foundation & The East Oakland Collective we were able to forklift his home to the median before the City bulldozed it Jan 30, 2019.
For most of 2019, The Village has been working with the 14 residents on this median to facilitate their process of self-governance, accountability to each other, and establishing fair decision making. We also provided know your rights trainings and versed them on the city’s policies. And we offered them the opportunity to have The Village transition the residents out of tents and into emergency shelters. We also worked with them to identify the need for a solar shower, a bicycle powered washing machine, solar power, and communal kitchen and raised garden beds.
Overtime, the residents decided to call themselves the “Right To Exist Curbside Community”. They came up with a statement to inform housed neighbors and business of who they are and what their plans were. They came up with agreements to keep peace, unity and functionality in their community. And they worked with the village to layout the design for the land and who would get which home. Read their statement here.
On Jan 18 & 19, 2020 during the Dr. Martin Luther King’s holiday weekend, we broke ground and started building the residential and communal facilities. To understand the connection between the legacy of Dr. King and the efforts to provide emergency and permanent housing read out press release here.
Check out images from MLK weekend here.