A Look Back At 2017
- 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 (the city administration stopped this by fining the private land owners!)
- Served thousands of hot dinners to Oakland’s unsheltered
- Shared provisions to hundreds of Oakland’s unsheltered
- Passed out 800 masks to Oakland’s unhoused during the north bay fires
- Passed out hundreds of fire extinguishers to encampments
- Called a successfull #WinterHolidayDriveto get winter clothes and supplies to folks
- Called a successful bottled water drive during the heat wave
- Pushed the narrative 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.
- Pushed the narrative that a new face of homeleness was emerging in this millinium
- successfully advocated for the City of Oakland to declare a Shelter Crisis and Homeless State of Emergency
- successfully reframed homelessness as a human rights crisis
A Look Back at 2018:
Looking Back, Learning Lessons, Celebrating Victories
2018 was a year of major victories & validations, as well as major devastations and traumas. We are truely a work in progress, shifting and reacting and surviving to the ever growing housing affordability crisis, exploding homeless state of emergency and the City’s violent and traumatizing practices towards curbside communities. Jumping over hurdles and pitfalls set by powerful buerocrats, tirelessly serving 40 curbside communities, forging and strengthening political allies, building people power, and creating autonomous community supported transitional villages has kept us busy this past year.
Major Accomplishments of 2018
January – broke ground on e12 and 23rd ave parcel to build a full scale transitional village; finished blueprints for two different emergency homes; finished layout and design for e12 and 23rd ave village with 40 emergency homes and on site services
February – finished outdoor field kitchen, increased sanitation services, establish first responders system on site at e12 & 23rd
March – Hosted the UN rapatour on adequate housing to visit ; Criminal charges dropped on two village leaders
April – 1st tiny house completed
May – 2nd emergency tiny house completed; decriminalize homelessness coalition forms
June – 3rd, 4th, 5th emergency house completed. Tiny house on wheels completed, housing and dignity project kick off, budget advocacy
October – housing and dignity report released, housing and dignity village created, miller ave granted by the city for us to build a new tiny home village, and then immediate revoked by the administration
November – housing and dignity village sues the city in a civil rights lawsuit for the violation of residents 1st, 4th, 8th and 14th Amendments Rights
December – begin advocating for state legislation to treat unhoused folks humanely, begin process to create city wide policy based on the housing and dignity report
And all year round Feed The People provided food services, provisions distributions and support services to thousands of unhoused Oaklanders. Created the eviction defense first response network that supported thousands of unhoused residents during evictions and documented the City’s cruel & unusual practices. Started the Word On The Curb (media literacy, media advocacy and journalism program) and Street Smarts School (know your rights education).
A Look Back At 2019:
The Village: 2019 Year In Review
- Saved three tiny homes from being demolished on e12th and 23rd Ave and relocated them to other curbside communities
- Built a Tiny Home on Oscar Grant Plaza on Martin Luther King’s Birthday to show our easy a strong, habital, emergency shelter can be built in a manner of hours and to draw attention to the city’s lack of will to end homelessness
- Supported 4 curbside communities in filing Civil Rights lawsuits against the city of oakland and its agents for the violation of their 4th, 8th, and 14th amendment rights
- Trained unhoused folks on laws that impact them and the rights they have as citizens, residents and humans
- Trained unhoused folks on adverse possession
- co-Organized and co-hosted the first annual Heal Not Harm Retreat that had 30 unhoused leaders across Oakland attend and strategize for two days
- Created the Housing Justice Village in front of City Hall November 24th (the city bulldozed the village around 11pm and arrested 22 unhoused residents)
- Expanded the “Word On The Curb” unhoused media production kru
- Collected more than 200 testimonies of unhoused residents across Oakland who assert their constitutional rights violated during sweeps
- Collected more than 100 testimonies of unhoused residents who had grievances against the management at the Tuff Shed sites
- Started SOS – Sanitation Ona Streets – a program that collects trash and takes the trash to the dump for curbside communities that do not receive trash pick up services from the city
- Distributed thousands of hot meals, bags of groceries and provisions to curbside communities thru our Feed The People program
- Successfully advocated for millions in the budget to be earmarked for homelessness prevention, emergency services for all encampments, permannet housing for the unsheltered
- developed a leadership development program for unhoused residents
- teamed up with Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute to embark on a legal strategy of suing the city and its agents for civil rights violations against unhoused residents
- housing and dignity project kicks off 2nd report on how to prevent homelessness
- continued engagement to create local and staewide legislation to decriminaize homelessness, upgrade encampment conditions, hold mayor & her administration to local/county/state/federal/international human rights laws in their approaches towards the homeless state of emergency; city budget advocacy
Our year round services and advocacy to encampments increases in capacity, and speaking engagements to housed residents of oakland in an effort to debunk stereotypes, change the narrative, let folks know what they can do to be part of the solution
Challenges of 2019
The biggest challenge has been the Mayor & her administration’s lack of political will to adopt best practices, work with advocates, and work with those most impacted by the affordable housing crisis and homeless state of emergency. However, the new city council has brought forward thinking and dedicated champions to our cause. It’s huge to have allies in the ivory tower.
Another challenge has been funding. We need money to build tiny homes en mass and to train and hire unhoused folks to build them for a living wage. Having meaningful employment not only gives people focus and purpose to lift themselves out of dispair, but it provides the neccessary income to afford a place to live.
Powerful Partnerships in 2019:
- We are working in collaboration and coalition with a few non-profits on several projects:
- Policy work (working with Homeless Advocacy Working Group, Dellums Institute/Just Cities): major oakland ordinances and fact fighting report happening thru oakland city council that will allow the use of public land for informal settlements, and enforcement and compliance of the administrations plans in acordance to local, state, federal ordinances and international human rights law. Continue working on state level to push thru state legislation on laws that impact curbside communities and deeply affordable housing
- Budget Advocacy: This year we joined the Refund Oakland Coalition and serve on the Housing Continumum Committee, where we have developed budget recomendations to improve and upgrade and fill in blind spots in funding for homeless prevention, deeply affordable permanent housing, tenants rights, upgrading encampments, autonomous transitional villages
- Court cases (working with Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute): Despite the city asserting in the preliminary injunction hearing November 2018 that they house everyone evicted and bag/tage/store people’s properties – the months of declarations from evictions and clean ups tells otherwise. Unhoused folks filing the suits pro se (and at times litigating for themselves) is speaking to the urgency of this matter. And their collective stories paints a broad picture of the inhumane and unusually cruel truth.
- Heal Not Harm Coalition (with ella baker center for human rights, Western regional Advocacy Project, St. Mary’s, East Oakland Collective): Working on decriminalizing homelessness in oakland by removing 14 ordinances that target unhoused folks;Working on a change the narrative campaign to educated policy makers and housed residents on the complexity, humanity and reality of homelessness; debunk stereotypes
- Housing and Dignity Project (working with Just Cities & East Oakland Collective): working on report on how to prevent homelessness
- High street build-out (working with three encampments to build our new design for tiny mobile housing using an employment model that combines sweat equity and a living wage.
A Look at 2020
– built 12 emergency shelters and communal kitchen and housed an entire curbside community in East Oakland.
– launched a portapotty program put 12 portapotties and handwashing stations in 11 communities
– built four communal kitchens
– built three solar showers
– passed out 700 hot meals, 240 bags of groceries, 150 -300 COVID19 PPE kits, 1600 bottles of clean drinking water every week
– gifted 27 minivans/RVS/Campers to unhoused 27 unhoused households thru our new GAS IT! Grant
– joined the No Vacancy Ca coalition to pressure local governments to start emergency shelter in place programs in hotels
– partnered with love and justice in the streets and east oakland collective to start our own emergency shelter in place program in hotels; served as program coordinator. Sheltered 47 households during the shut down.
– opened a separate emergency shelter in place program for pregnant women and families with children
– joined East Bay Permanent Housing Cooperative
– joined STOP the EMP coalition
– advocated for humane treatment of unhoused residents and real solutions to homelessness
– became a non-profit in May 2020
– helped unhoused residents file two more lawsuits against the city of oakland
– went into settlement hearings in oakland’s first civil rights lawsuit brought up against the city of oakland by an unhoused community (miralle vs. City of oakland). This and all seven other civil rights lawsuits are still active. None of them have gone to jury or to the judge yet. Miralle vs oakland is still in settlement.
– created the cardboard and concrete unhoused artist collective
– had a winter gear drive and distribution
– created Soul Food Shack – a mobile apothacary to offer herbal medicines and wellness education
– Feed The People purchased a fed -ex truck and transformed it into a mobile grocery and provision store. And we expanded our grocery and hot meal distribution services to housed Oakland elders and families in need, and unhoused residents of Berkeley and San Francisco.
– had 1st ever village volunteer and leadership three day camping retreat
A Look Back at 2021
It’s the end of the year, and here’s what 2021 looked like for us and what 2022 will bring (believe it or not it’s a very short version). Can’t believe we’ve been doing g this since 2016.
Thank you to everyone who has donated their time, money or materials. thank you to our funders for supporting us.
This is also the end of the year online fundraising pitch. Please consider donating to our 2022 efforts at PayPal.Me/thevillageinoakland
-our civil rights law suit against the city if Oakland and its agents, libby schaft, and Joe de vries is still active (since october 2018). This past year we supported three more curbside communities file civil rights lawsuits too, including one in berkeley.
– our foundational program @Feed The People – oakland continues to provide hot meals’ groceries, clean drinking water, and other provisions to over 700 unhoused and a dozen housed households in need every week. We will continue this thru 2022.
– Soul Food Shack continued to grow with the incorporation of quarterly zines that provide information on alternative medicines unhoused folks can access
– Word On The Curb continues to train unhoused folks with public speaking, media advocacy, and press work training.
– Cardboard and Concrete Artist collective launched the Tarpestries project this year and had a 6 month art exhibit at the Asian Resource Center gallery in Chinatown this past year. And the Tarpestry mobile mural project will be working with 12 oakland curbside communities and 3 Berkeley communities to create mobile protest murals.
– Hotels Not Graves official ended in July 2021. In total we housed 47 households for more than year during the pandemic. More than half the residents were permanently housed or moved into the county of Alameda safer ground hotel program where they were permanently housed. A handful of residents were exited into RVs or campers. The Hotels Not Graves program has morphed into “Staycation” – a hotel voucher program that offers temporary 3 to 5 day hotel vouchers for specific folks in emergency situations.
– our Gas It Grant brokered more than a dozen vehicle donations for unhoused leaders, unhoused fulltime students, and unhoused fulltime workers.
– SOS – Sanitation ona streets provided trash services for curbside communities and squats, and also paid for portapoties and handwashing services at 12 curbside communities
– Street Smarts School continues to provide know your rights trainings and handouts to unhoused residents in Oakaland, berkeley and sf
– we launched Forward Forever Academy – a decolonization program for unhoused residents.the academy will be working with Cardboard and Concrete Collective to provide decolonization and political education classes thru the Tarpestry program
– as a founding member of 510Day, we had a successful event again in 2021 and are already talking about 510Day 2022 that will branch off the lake merrit protest party and happen in neighborhoods across oakland
– we also join two very important bodies. Earlier this year we joined the Northern California resiliently Hub. This Hub was created 4 organizations and cities throughout Northern California to create the beginning infrastructures but when a natural disaster or other kind of catastrophic emergency hits our community and region. We were able to not only provide guidance and wisdom to this organization, but we also able to shift The Narrative so that folks started looking at unhoused communities as the experts of resilience in the midst of catastrophe.
This year we also were invited to join Deeply Rooted Oakland. This broad coalition of heavy hitters in Oakland California will serve as consultants in the city of Oakland General planning process of what the city will look like in 2045. Deeply Rooted Oakland is committed and making sure that our communities which are normally never part of the general planning process, will have a place at the table to help shape the future and the policies of what a woman will look like in 20 years.
– The village is also an active and founding member of the National Lawyers Guild Right To Shelter Working Group that was tasked with the work of collecting declarations and showing up as legal observers at curbside evictions.
-supported Berkeley Friends On Wheels when they filed a civil rights complaint against the city of Berkeley.
Looking Back at 2022
It’s the end of the year, and here’s what 2022 looked like for us. Can’t believe we’ve been doing this since 2016. Our biggest challenge continues to be the City of Oakland and its agents towing our vehicles, discrediting our leadership and our work, and the arson that look out the administrative offices and home of the Village’s core leadership on Sept 23rd is something we are still recovering from.
– Our Civil Rights Lawsuit Miralle vs. City of Oakland was settled (the city fought tooth and nail to make sure we DID NOT go to court before a jury of our peers). We were able to create policy and procedure around the city NOT throwing away people’s property and a step by step policy of how to bag, stag and store unhoused folks property rather than throw it out. Also was able to establish that the city cannot evict people in the rain, in heat waves, in freezing cold weather. Unfortunately the city is still not following this policy! We were able to also get $250,000 for 6 plaintiffs who were residents of the Housing and Dignity Village established in Deep East Oakland in October 2018, and bulldozed by the city in December 2018. However, unknowing to the plaintiffs, nearly 50% of those funds was taken by our attorneys to pay for court fees and their salaries. We all still unhoused.
– our foundational program @Feed The People – oakland continued to provide hot meals’ groceries, clean drinking water, and other provisions to over 700 unhoused and a dozen housed households in need every week in our mobile grocery store…until the mobile grocery store stopped running :(. Feed the People transformed food distribution once again thru the creation of the Living Room Block parties. We started off in April doing 4 per week, and capacity has us downsize to 2 per month. But the event itself has grown beyond a block party with free food, and includes several village programs, the Deeply Rooted Oakland Collaborative and other non-profits and culture keepers.
– The Soul Food Shacks – joined the Living Room Block Party kru to offer herbal medicinal teas;herbal medicinal tinctures; and lessons on how to make herbal medicines with common items you find in your grocery store; acupuncture and acupressure treatments to help with anxiety and addiction; micro doses of physillium to help with depression, addiction and cerbral damage done by methamphetamine
– Word On The Curb continues to train unhoused folks with public speaking, media advocacy, and press work training. And we developed a team of correspondents to take Word On The Curb on the road. Due to unforeseen circumstances (state violence, criminalization, kidnapping of correspondents, and illegal tows of the vehicles folks live in) the team very hit the road. However, some team members will be moving forward with in December 2022 to traveling across the county to provide you with coverage about unhoused communities in the u.s. who are organizing; politicians who are choosing to reject gentrification and instead focus on immediately permanently housing their unhoused residents and invest in development models that take care of their existing communities rather than displace them; and interviewing Native Americans struggling with being unhoused, and First nations taking back and defending the land. This year Word on the Curb correspondents locally and nationally will be getting paid!
– Cardboard and Concrete Artist collective had their third exhibit go up in February at the Eastside Arts Alliance. Cardboard and Concrete Collective is also shifting to take the lead of the Living Room bi-monthly block parties. Cardboard and Concrete members have also been producing politically minded stickers, t-shirts, and posters that are distributed for free to unhoused residents. Three t-shirt designs, 5 sticker designs, and 5 poster designs were created, mass produced and distributed this past year.
– SOS – Sanitation Ona Streets provided trash services for curbside communities and squats. Thankfully the City of Oakland stepped up their game and provided portapotties and handwashing services at curbside communities so this year we were able to close down that service we started providing in January 2020. Moving forward, SOS will continue to provide dump services to squats and curbside communities dealing with illegal dumping, as well as providing settlements with trashcans, contractor bags, brooms and sharps containers.
– Street Smarts School updated and expanded our know your rights/eviction defense booklet for curbside communities facing eviction by the city of oakland. A second booklet for Berkeley communities is currently being worked on, as is a know the rights booklet documenting supreme court decisions and California penal codes that uphold the rights of unhoused folks, and templates for filing civil suits (different than civil rights law suits) when the city or cal trans destroys people’s personal property.
– we started a youth internship program in 2021 and its still going strong in 2022, and will continue into the new year.
– our new website was launched at the beginning of the year! https://thevillageinoakland.org
– for the past couple years we consulted Council President Nikki Fortunata Bas’s office on best practices for the creation and management of the Lakeshore Tiny Home Shleter, and currently have a seat on the intervention’s Community Council. We also supported and advocated for the Union Point on the Rise residents as they negotiated for emergency and permanent housing from the City.
– the city of oakland has selected The village to be a cohort starting this month thru next year. We cautiously hope that thru this cohort we can FINALLY get the city to support us and stop criminalizing, harming or copying our works.
– as a founding member of Oaxxanda land liberation cooperative, we continued to helpe develop the governance and ownership policy, and continued the search for collectively owned and stewarded land. The Oaxxanda collective is currently flushing out our membership model to bring in new members
– as a founding member of 510Day, we had a successful event in 2022 that brought in new leadership and partners
– thru our work in the Homeless Advocacy Working Group, we saw the release of a scathing audit done on the city of Oakland’s homeless interventions and the non-profits contracted to carry out the interventions. This audit and the audit released from the previous year on the Encampment Management team was sent to Governor Nuesome, which led to him demanding cities including Oakland come up with real solutions and be transparent and accountable with how they are spending state funding to end homelessness. FUnds to cities will not be released until cities have authentic plans that include goals and objectives, a budget, a strategy, metrics for measuring success, and data collection. We also worked on stopping the ban of RVs and Campers in Oakland and are currently working on ending the City of Oakland Homeless Administrators legislation that would allow arrests of unhoused residents and advocates at evictions.
– we continued in our second year as partners in Deeply Rooted Oakland Collaborative. This broad coalition of heavy hitters in Oakland California is serving as consultants in the city of Oakland General planning process of what the city will look like in 2045. Deeply Rooted Oakland is committed and making sure that our communities which are normally never part of the general planning process, will have a place at the table to help shape the future and the policies of what a woman will look like in 20 years.