The Raid – Press Statement

Mayor And City Administrator Bulldoze Homes & Village of Services for Oakland’s Homeless Residents

Hundreds of Oakland Residents Created An Encampment That Offered Safe & Dignified Space City of Oakland Did Not Provide

Oakland, CA – At 8:30 AM on the morning of Thursday, February 2, 2017, at least 80 Oakland Police violently raided a village of homes and services for Oakland’s homeless residents which was then bulldozed by the Department of Public Works. The inhumane action went against the wishes of hundreds of Oakland residents who contributed to the creation of the sanctuary at 36th and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, named “The Promise Land” by residents. Sixteen residents, half of them elderly, were displaced. An additional four guests who were seeking sanctuary for the night were also rudely awakened. Two of the evening guests who slept in The Promised Land open air living room, sought refuge because Cal Trans had destroyed their two encampments down the street.

Since early morning on Saturday, January 21, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, a public plot of neglected land at 36th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in West Oakland, and had moved in small homes, a healing clinic, and other services, declaring it a people’s encampment for those who needed housing and basic needs and services. The group – which included folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives, The Black Land Liberation Initiative and various individuals from the community – said that the move-in demonstrated their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.

Although the camp had grown extraordinarily quickly and shown incredible success in reducing harm for Oakland’s unhoused community in such a short time, it was cited for 18 code violations. According to City Hall insiders, both the mayor and the city administrator were motivated by bruised egos as justification for demolishing the widely-supported encampment.

“The City has proven how petty and ineffective they are. The crisis is our permit. Our code is humanity. Our regulations are immediate, healthy solutions that address the urgency of this housing crisis,” said Promise Land founder Needa Bee who is with both #FeedThePeople and Asians4BlackLives. “There are zero codes to follow and zero permits needed to build a tiny home. What they did was cruel and unusual punishment and the people who they hurt the most were the residents. The residents who were still asleep at the time of the raid were all elderly. The sixteen residents of the village have been needlessly traumatized and distressed by the Mayor and City Administrator. I am absolutely disgusted, but not surprised. Oakland has once again proved it isn’t a sanctuary city, nor does it show compassion to those most vulnerable and in need.”

The group aimed to demonstrate through their visionary encampment that housing is a human right. They also hoped to demonstrate that, in the face of a city government that failed to meet the needs of its people, it is possible for the community to unite to serve serve Oakland’s homeless residents in a dignified and humane manner. The group criticizes the inaction of the City of Oakland, saying that the City has proven to be disloyal to its long term families displaced in this city-initiated housing crisis. The group also claims that the City has not implemented sufficient efforts to address homelessness, such as building permanent public housing for those who have been displaced by the housing crisis, particularly Black and Brown residents.

“What #FeedthePeople offered us is a better situation than what the City has offered us,” said Red,one of the several senior citizens who was housed at The Village. “#FeedthePeople seems to get things rolling. They had a place for us to go to that was safe, dignified, and had services for us all. It’s hard to believe that the city actually bulldozed homes for homeless people in the middle of a housing crisis.”

As for the $20 million surprise bond city hall approved for building homes for the homeless the day before The Promise Land was raided, organizers understand that it was the power and effectiveness of their harm reduction based direct action and the movement that grew out of it that got the city to finally develop for those most negatively impacted by gentrification. For years activists and Oakland residents demanded the city to build homes for low income residents in the midst of this housing crisis, and the consistent response from the city was there was not enough money to do so.

“We are very clear that our unappologetic, bold and beautiful action pushed the city to finally do something they chose not to do for decades. As they say – direct action gets the goods. It appears the community wants to solve this question with its own effective solutions. The City should listen to the people of Oakland instead of bulldozer over them,” said Promised Land volunteer Ellen Choy of Asians For Black Lives. “But we know all too well the city is known for making promises it does not keep and those homes won’t be built for years. So despite the hostility we are receiving from the mayor and the city administrator, we intend to hold them accountable to their promise, and in the meantime keep building temporary homes for those who need them until those homes the city is promising are built.”

And the community’s solution was so effective homeless encampments around Oakland were referring to The Village as “The Promise Land”, which led to the name change.

“We call the encampment The Promise Land because every promise they made to us they came through on,” said Crystal, another resident of the village. “The city has made promises to us and has broken them all. They promised people at the city-sanctioned encampment on Magnolia permanent housing but instead gave temporary hotel vouchers to a chosen few that last four to six months. When that voucher is up, they are back to square one.”

The group began moving into Marcus Garvey Park before dawn on January 21, 2017 and set up the village of services. The center of the village, people on the land said, became a community space reserved for regular people’s assemblies, and provided services to the residents and the greater Oakland community. Volunteers and residents offered hot home cooked meals, edible container gardens, and a provisions distribution program for Oakland residents in need. The village was open to all who need services provided whether you live at the site or not. And no registration is needed.

“The city claims that neighbors complained they no longer had access to the park, but we never blocked anyone access to the park. We locked the gates of the park from dusk til dawn to protect the land and the people, but our private nightly security team let neighbors in to walk their dogs, and even offered neighbors keys to locked gates if they wanted to walk their dogs in the middle of the night,” said security coordinator Douglas Faatiligia. “We circulated a petition in the neighborhood in support of The Village over a four hour period and collected hundreds of signatures. And many neighbors came to volunteer and donated supplies. The interests of hundreds of neighbors and greater Oakland residents who supported the Promise Land were silenced over the irrational fear of homeless people a dozen or so recently arrived residents expressed to the city.”

The village was narcotics and alcohol free, and begins with prioritizing housing for Black and Brown folks, families, women, elders, and disabled folks. Two residents actually came to the camp seeking support in kicking decades old drug addictions. Both residents managed to stay clean and sober beginning the day they moved in. The city’s decision to destroy the village resulted in their journey to recovery being disrupted.

Organizers also hope that their version of what a compassionate community looks like inspires others to reclaim public land in other parts of Oakland, the Bay Area, and the country, to build similar havens of safety, service and community.

The encampment was never meant to be a permanent solution, but addressed the immediate needs and harm reduction of some of the City of Oakland’s more than 3,050 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 day the city raided The Promise Land the shelter were all full.

The City of Oakland’s “Compassionate Communities”effort that claims to be a pilot program has earmarked $190,000 of the City’s general budget funds for addressing homelessness. However, the program only allows trash pickup and porta-potties for a single sanctioned encampment for six months. New residents do not get registered for inclusion in the program and were told to leave when the camp footprint was recently halved by force in preparation for permanent closure of the encampment by March 31. The programs are not scalable, and only a select few benefit. An interim housing provision gives residents hotel vouchers that last no longer than 6 months, an unrealistic timeline for finding permanent housing, and the program includes no proposals for long-term subsidized housing. This is not a pilot program to address homelessness. This is an experiment in camp removal and suppression. After being criticized for the false claims of the program, the city responded that their phase two of the program is to create a permanent homeless encampment made up of tiny homes not tall enough for residents to stand up in.

“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. What the city did to The Village is the epitome towards their inhumane stance towards homeless residents” she said.

Activists and residents hoped to unite communities that face displacement, destruction, terror, poverty, and violence to stand together in the fight for housing for all, and promote self-determination in the face of an illegitimate government. Their hopes were manifested much greater than they expected. “We not only mobilized The Town, we also mobilized the New Oakland to stand with and support the people they displaced. This is a beginning of a movement. This is the beginning of a paradigm shift where people are realizing they have the vision and ability and power that that the city of oakland does not have,” Kundidzora said. “We started off as a network and in less than two weeks, we have become a movement. We aren’t going to stop. If anything the city’s display of inhumanity has galvanized more people to join us and clearly see the ineffectiveness and illegitimacy of City Hall.

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 #ASIANS4BLACKLIVES

#Asians4BlackLives, a diverse group of people of Asian descent based in the Bay Area, focuses on nonviolent direct action for Black liberation. The group originally came together over two years ago in response to a call from Black Lives Matter Bay Area and the larger Black Lives Matter movement, to show up in solidarity with Black people in their struggle for liberation. The group has been involved in direct actions to support campaigns ranging from #StopUrbanShield to #BlackTransLivesMatter to #NoDAPL and regularly supports calls from Black-led groups for solidarity statements and actions. a4bl.tumblr.com @Asians4BlkLives

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For press images and video, please contact Needa Bee at (510) 355-7010 or feedthepeopleoakland@gmail.com

Or visit our Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/The-Village-in-Oakland-feedthepeople-731643677003021/

Direct Action 2.0

Homeless Residents of Future Village Refuse to Wait For Basic Human Rights: Shelter, Water, Safety.

City Administration Created Unsafe Conditions on Land Offered To Grassroots Movement, Bureaucracy Slows Down Progress

Press Contact:

Needa Bee, Phone: (510) 355-7010

(February 3, 2018 – Oakland, CA) – In his recent letter of Feb. 1, Joe DeVries, Asst. to the City Administrator, threatens and pressures Village supporters and residents to stop building their self-governed, volunteer driven homeless village claiming a direly needed security perimeter under construction is “unauthorized”.

The City of Oakland sanctioned this parcel at 23rd Ave and E.12th St. to “The Village”, a self-organized group of homeless Oaklanders and supporters, with one hand while sweeping and herding other encampments onto the same parcel with the other. The ensuing overcrowding combined with arbitrary city restrictions on community initiatives has led to squalid conditions and dire safety issues. The Village residents and supporters continue to build shelter and security over this Volunteer Build weekend with or without the blessing of the city administrator’s office.

“Why are we still in tents? The city gave The Village the land in October. And a few days later Oakland Police Department and Public Works moved us and our belongings to this land on trucks and told us to build homes,” said homeless resident and Village Administrative Team Member, Tracy Lee. “This is public land. Who’s the public? We are. The people. The Village is here to help us and that’s what they are doing.”

INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE: homeless Oaklanders and village residents; supporters, builders and volunteers; spokespeople from partner organizations; and neighbors to the village.

VISUALS: residents and supporters planting, building, and breaking bread together all day; the colorful perimeter fence of repurposed doors going up around newly constructed shelters for the womens and elders camp. A community mural. Trash pick and land preperations.

BACKGROUND

After they offered The Village land, the Administration closed down six encampments throughout East Oakland and herded them onto the site at 23rd Ave and E12th under an overpass. Residents and surrounding neighborhood all agree the results have been disastrous.

The one acre plot of land was intended to be filled with 40 tiny homes, a health/wellness/recovery center, computer lab, art studio, gardens, sanitation services, case management and classrooms for a variety of life skills and trade skill courses. The intention is to get people off the ground, out of tents and into temporary sturdy shelters, while providing support and services to get Oakland’s most vulnerable on their feet, achieving their goals and transitioning into permanent housing. But the administration filled this narrow parcel between an overpass and E12th with nearly 70 residents with more moving in every day.

“It’s not our fault they we are getting shuffled around and having our human and civil rights violated. We are humans and we deserve and need housing and support. Trying to get a place to live in Oakland is impossible. I’ve never seen Oakland like this,” said Tracy Lee, raised in Oakland. “And what the administration has created by moving all of us onto this land is a disaster. We not fittin’ to have people sick, raped, robbed, beaten, harassed or in danger anymore.”

The Administration was notified of the dangerous health and safety circumstances in a letter sent January 16, 2018. In the letter, both The Village organizers and the Two Three Hunid Ohlone Village residents informed the Administration that despite the Village and Admin still being in negotiations around details in the agreement with the City, immediate action needed to take place.

“Folks have been here building for two, three months now. And they are going to keep building. The city knows two women are out here dying and they could have been housed. Then why are they not housed? If people don’t feel safe and are telling you they don’t feel safe and the plan is to build them homes, then do it already!” said resident and Village onsite peacekeeper Joddi Everett.

There was no movement from the city administration on the matter. In fact, the administration asked for proof that the violence, and health and safety violations were even happening. Councilmembers, neighbors, nearby businesses and organizations, and most of all, the residents of the encampment want immediate action to happen.

One year ago, housed and unhoused community members of The Village undertook a direct action to create a Promised Land to provide shelter, food, first aid and other resources to Oakland’s homeless population, who the group believes has been failed by the city’s administration. Their 2017 efforts were bulldozed to the tune of $75,000 tax dollars

Despite the threat of continued, unnecessary and violent responses, The Village has been fighting for the creation of temporary and permanent housing solutions ever since. On Oct 3rd, 2017 City Council unanimously voted to: pass the shelter crisis declaration which grants The Village and other community groups and movements power to build unconventional shelters under deregulated housing codes in the face of a total lack of affordable housing and a growing health and human rights disaster. City Council also unanimously passed a resolution for the Administration to grant The Village land. Ever since the land was offered on Oct 5, four months ago, the residents say it’s been a frustrating and exhausting journey simply trying to provide for themselves without retaliation or obstruction.

The residents assert housing is a human right and that City Administration is violating the rights of low-income and unhoused people through repeated criminalization, forced removal, the herding of humans and deepening the crisis at the city owned parcel.

“We hope that the City of Oakland will understand the necessity for action. The Village and the City can keep on talking. But we are going to build. We have blueprints, a site plan, resources. The only thing that keeps getting in the way is the Mayor. They ignored homeless folks until they couldn’t ignore us anymore. We hope the Mayor and Administration do the right thing and support the community’s response. We hope the powers that be cease being bureaucrats and tap into their humanity and Spirit of The Town by responding to this situation with unrestricted kindness and compassion to save lives,” said Village co-founder Needa Bee.

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Photos from The Village Groundbreak on Martin Luther King Day Weekend

https://www.facebook.com/pg/The-Village-in-Oakland-feedthepeople-731643677003021/photos/?tab=album&album_id=922399464594107

Photos of The Village building this past week

Violence Against Women is our Permit

City Administration Created Unsafe Conditions on Land Offered To Village, Bureaucracy Slows Down Progress

Safety First Says The Village, Violence Against Women Is Our Permit

(February 1, 2018 – Oakland, CA) – Two weeks ago, The Village broke ground on Two Three Hunid Ohlone Village – a plot of land offered by The City of Oakland through the emergency shelter declaration we campaigned the City Council into passing. But we did not get beyond groundbreaking, as the bureaucracy continues to respond in a non-emergency fashion to a crisis they created.

One year ago, housed and unhoused community members undertook a direct action to create a Promised Land to provide shelter, food, first aid and other resources to Oakland’s homeless population, who have been failed by the city’s administration. Our efforts were bulldozed, but we have been fighting for the creation of temporary and permanent housing solutions ever since. On Oct 3rd, 2017 City Council unanimously voted to: pass the shelter crisis declaration; make the Administration give us land; and make the Administration work with us. And tho the land was offered to us Oct 5 and two weeks ago, we broke ground – it’s been a frustrating and exhausting journey.

In the same breath they offered us land, the Administration closed down six encampments throughout East Oakland and herded the encampments onto the property. The results have been disastrous. The land is quickly overcrowding, health and safety are serious issues, and success of The Village has been jeopardized.

Located on the e12 between 22nd and 23rd avenues, the one acre plot of land was intended to be filled with 40 tiny homes, a health/wellness/recovery center, computer lab, art studio, gardens, sanitation services, case management and classrooms for a variety of life skills and trade skill courses. The intention is to get people off the ground, out of tents and into temporary sturdy shelters, while providing support and services to get Oakland’s most vulnerable on their feet, achieving their goals and transitioning into permanent housing.

We asked for unpolluted and unoccupied land. We got the opposite. But it’s not our unsheltered folks fault they are getting shuffled around and having their human and civil rights violated. All these folks deserve and need housing and support. So despite the Administration’s cruel and unusual actions, we are committed to serving the folks there.

The Administration was notified of the dangerous health and safety circumstances in a letter sent January 16, 2018. In the letter, The Village and Two Three Hunid Ohlone Village residents informed the Administration that despite the Village and Admin still being in negotiations around details in our contact with the City, immediate action needed to take place. We informed the city officials that a perimeter must immediately go up to prevent more folks from moving in and to protect the women, children and elderly living in the encampment from predators. In addition, we told the City that women and families with children will be immediately housed. We stated that we would take these immediate emergency measures to save lives and continue the negotiate our agreement with them.

There was no movement from The Administration on the matter. In fact, the Administration asked for proof that these rapes are happening. However, Council members, neighborhood businesses and organizations, residents in the area and residents of the encampment want immediate action to happen. None of us can understand why The Village homes have not yet been given a green light to go up under the shelter crisis declaration passed four months ago.

The Village asserts that housing is a human right and that City Administration is violating the rights of low-income and unhoused people through repeated criminalization, forced removal, herding of humans and creating dangerous conditions during a visibly dire crisis, and deepening the crisis at the city owned parcel – a crisis that has been legitimized through the unanimously passed emergency shelter ordinance which grants us the power to build unconventional shelters under deregulated housing codes in the face of a total lack of affordable housing and growing health and human rights disaster. We hope that the City of Oakland will understand the necessity for action as we continue to negotiate with them. We hope the Mayor and Administration do the right this and support the community’s response. We hope the powers that be cease being bureaucrats and tap into their humanity and Spirit of The Town by responding to this situation with unrestricted kindness and compassion to save lives.

Press Contact:

Needa Bee, Phone: (510) 355-7010

#TheVillageOakland #HousingIsAHumanRight #ViolenceAgainstWomenIsOurPermit #MeToo #HoldLibbyAccountable

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The Village Returns

The Village Returns:

A Year of Building on The Street and at City Hall

Press Contact:

Needa Bee, Phone: (510) 934-8373

January 13, 2018 – Oakland, CA – One year ago, housed and unhoused community members undertook a direct action to create a Promised Land to provide shelter, food, first aid and other resources to Oakland’s homeless population, who have been failed by the city’s administration. Our efforts were bulldozed, but we have been fighting for the creation of temporary and permanent housing solutions ever since. This weekend, with the blessing of an Ohlone chairwoman, we break ground on Two Three Hunid Ohlone Village, a plot of land offered by the City of Oakland through the emergency shelter ordinance we have pressured into passing.

Located on the e12 between 22nd and 23rd avenues, the one acre plot of land will soon be filled with 40 tiny homes, a health/wellness/recovery center, computer lab, art studio, gardens, sanitation services, case management and classrooms for a variety of life skills and trade skill courses. The intention is to get people off the ground, out of tents and into temporary sturdy shelters, while providing support and services to get Oakland’s most vulnerable on their feet, achieving their goals and transitioning into permanent housing.

The Village asserts that housing is a human right and that City Administration is violating the rights of low income and unhoused people through repeated criminalization and forced removal during a visibly dire crisis – a crisis that has been legitimized through the unanimously passed emergency shelter ordinance which grants us the power to build unconventional shelters under deregulated housing codes in the face of a total lack of affordable housing and growing health and human rights disaster.

The ordinance also suspends the need for general liability insurance due to the urgency created by the crisis. However, the city has imposed a $2 million policy on The Village regardless. This imposition has become an obstacle to a contract being finalized that would allow our building to officially begin on site. Because of the radical nature of our mission, insurance companies refuse to serve us. Although City Administration has offered financial support to cover the cost of the insurance, we should have been able to start building without fear of eviction and criminalization three months ago when the ordinance was passed.

Despite the bureaucratic setbacks, The Village and existing E12th St encampment residents are committed to breaking ground this weekend to begin to prepare the land. We hope that the City of Oakland will understand the necessity for action as we continue to negotiate with them, and will not destroy the community’s response due to a lack of protocol that is technically waived by the enacted crisis ordinance. We are responding to this situation with unrestricted kindness and compassion to save lives.

Because local government has been complicit in creating the housing crisis, the struggle to alleviate the damage it is causing must be led by impacted communities, including homeless people. The city has failed to protect Oakland’s low income and Black and Brown residents during a volatile housing boom. This month, The Village and unhoused representatives will be meeting with a delegation from the United Nations to share reports and testimonies and document the many human rights violations that take place in our streets every day at the hands of City Administration and other agencies.

This weekend, as we commemorate the life of one the greatest civil rights leaders in history, The Village is challenging Mayor Libby Schaaf and her cabinet members to ask themselves: #WhatWouldMartinLutherKingDo?

Because models like The Village make it possible for communities to create autonomous interim solutions with little support from the local government – Mayor Schaaf, her administration, and City Council should be focusing their efforts on creating permanent housing for unsheltered residents rather than replicating the community’s model. We demand that the City expand permanent low income housing options throughout the city and county and more quickly respond to predatory tools such as substantial rehabilitation and illegal evictions.

The Village is welcoming The Town to come on down to the new sanctuary and get involved to support immediate community based solution to the homeless state of emergency. We also hope our efforts inspire and encourage others who have the capacity and resources to create their own solutions using the tools of the shelter crisis declaration.

Hashtags:

#TheVillageOakland #HomesAndDignityForAll #HousingIsAHumanRight

#CityHallGetUsPermanentHousing #WhatWouldMLKDo

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We Got Land!

“The Village” Offered 1 Acre Of City Owned Land To Build Homes For Homeless

City Forced To Adopt Safe Havens Due To Success Of Militant Grassroots Efforts

Oakland, CA – Thursday afternoon, nine months after bulldozing The Village – a radical community effort to immediately provide shelters and services to Oakland’s homeless – the City Administration granted the movement a large parcel of land in East Oakland.

“We are happy that we have the support of city council and staff in City Hall. We are thrilled that the City Administration finally saw the light, and instead of continuing to fight us, found inspiration in our vision and model and is fleshing out their plan called the Safe Haven,” said one of The Village’s lead organizers Needa Bee. “We are happy that the City did the right thing. It was a long, frustrating and slow winding road. But we are happy we have reached the goal: for the City to accept that housing is a human right, that homelessness is not a crime and that everyone deserves a place to call home.”

In the middle of the night on January 20, 2017, under the cloak of the year’s largest rain storm and overshadowed by the inauguration of Donald Trump, a group of nearly 100 grassroots community activists seized Grove Shafter Park, aka Marcus Garvey Park, on the West Oakland/North Oakland border and began building homes and services for Oakland’s unhoused. Their action was a result of the City’s zero response to a homelessness and housing crisis that City Council had declared the previous year. With a zero dollar budget, in 13 days the movement grew into hundreds of volunteers who built 6 homes and offered dozens of services to anyone who needed them, including hot meals, health and wellness services, provisions, a bathroom and two hot showers. In less than two weeks 16 chronically homeless drug users were sheltered and off drugs.

The City responded by spending $75,000 taxpayer dollars to bulldoze the effort.

Since then, The Village, through the creation of the Homeless Advocacy Working Group – a body created out of the rubble of the bulldozers – has been tirelessly lobbying City Hall to pass the Shelter Crisis Ordinance, which would give The Village and other community groups public land to continue their work without harassment, and to get the City to come up with their own solutions. This past Tuesday, October 3rd, City Council passed the Shelter Crisis Ordinance and gave the green light for homeless encampments with shelters and services to be created on City-owned or managed lands. Yesterday the City Administration offered The Village a parcel of land in East Oakland located at East 12 and 23rd Ave.

“The level of egotism and resistance from the Administration has been ridiculous. But we are so happy that they are finally on the humanitarian page and accept that the shelters, closing down encampments, shuffling and criminalizing homeless just don’t work. Our efforts have helped shift the Administration’s approach to the crisis,” Bee said. “We have now opened the door for others in the community to step to the plate and throw down. Which is what needs to happen. We are going to need 100 different solutions and as many villages as possible to deal with this crisis. The homeless population is in the thousands and the 40 Tuff Sheds the City will provide in their safe havens and the 40 shelters we will provide in our first village will barely scratch the surface.”

The East Oakland Collective is a supporter of The Village and has been doing work in Deep East Oakland to serve the homeless community. The Village hopes they are next in line to receive public lands to implement their solutions to this crisis.

The Village plans to operate several sites in several neighborhoods using City, County and private lands they will lease to the community group. The Village is also planning to purchase lands to build both temporary and permanent housing. Each village will serve a particular demographic of the diverse unsheltered population. There will be a village for those in recovery, a harm reduction village, a site for families with children and elders who have been recently homeless due to gentrification, an LGBTQ community, a women’s location and an encampment for RVs and campers.

Unlike the City’s safe havens, The Village will build custom designed homes that are 12 feet high and 120 square feet in area for individuals. Larger dwellings will be built for families depending on their size. Sites will also include wrap around services, job training, employment opportunities for residents, 24 hour community security, sanitation services, a computer lab, art studio, health and wellness clinic, chicken coops and gardens. For the broader community, food services and provision distribution programs will also be offered.

The Village is completely run on donations and volunteers and is significantly less costly than the City’s $550,000 per encampment version. Bee said the support from the community, nonprofits, religious groups and the unhoused is vast.

“We started as a direct action, and when they bulldozed us we became a mighty movement. And now we are a membership based organization and alliance of many organizations,” said Bobby Qui, member and builder with The Village. “And now we are going to need all hands on deck. Winter is around the corner and the rains are coming. Let’s get folks off the sidewalks, into supportive environments towards self–sufficiency and ultimately into permanent housing.

If people want to learn how to plug in, they can follow them on their Facebook page The Village in Oakland #feedthepeople. Currently they are accepting gift cards to hardware and home improvement stores as well as donations of building materials.

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Contact Needa Bee for images and graphics

510-355-7010 maowunyo@gmail.com

Bahaniyan


tagalog to english direct translation: unity

tagalog to english literal translation: that spirit of unity that moves you to work together so that the community will reap and share as a unit. working together to achieve a common noble purpose. when your fellow villager or townsfolk are working, you jump in with no intent of pay or compensation but only the intent of working together. when your fellow villager or townsfolk needs a home you come together and build it. and if your fellow villager or townsfolk needs to move, you come together and strap that house on your shoulders and move it.
this is the Spirit in which The Village moves.

Letter to Joe DeVries:

TO Joe Devries:

We are The Village, and we are searching for The Promised Land. We are not going to stop looking for it and building it – even though you have gone against the wishes of the people of oakland by destroying what we built. We are not going to stop despite the fact you are hostile and violent to our vision of humanity.

We were told that this meeting was to be between The Village of the Promise Land and city of oakland officials.

However, we were never invited. The residents of The Promise Land were not invited. The volunteers of The Promise Land were not invited. The homeless community members who used The Promise Land services were not invited. Therefore, we declare this meeting illegitimate.

In addition, we have lost absolute faith in you Joe DeVries. You have proven yourself untrustworthy and incapable of the type of leadership needed to address the housing and homeless state of emergency.

Joe deVries – your job responsibilities make you directly responsible for the destruction of homeless encampments, the displacement and shuffling around of homeless folks and the criminalization of people without shelter. We think you should be fired and your job responsibilities deleted.

Furthermore, in the past two weeks in your engagement with The Promise Land, you have repeatedly lied. On monday January 23rd you came to The Promise Land and told volunteers you admired what we were doing. But a few days later you returned to The Promise Land to supervise the postings of eviction notices. And two days later you supervised the violent and, inhumane demolition of our homes and free much needed services we offered the community.

You have continually lied. Last thursday you lied to reporters and concerned community members and publicly stated the 16 displaced residents of The Promise Land were offered alternative housing. We were not. You lied to the public and said the city had a contingency plan for taking care for the residents of The Promise Land. We were taken care of. You had the audactiy to lie and say we the residents of The Promise Land were not homeless, but were a group of troublemakers who are antagonistic to the city. We the residents of The Promise Land were homeless before The Promise Land and you made us homeless once again when you bulldozed The Promise Land. We had homes that we built with housed residents of Oakland. And now we are scattered in the storm because of you, the city administartor and the mayor

We do not trust you Joe DeVries. You told people last thursday you sent intel to the Promise Land to spy on us. You told people last Thursday that you “were told to expect violence when you came to raid” the promise land. you said someone from seigel and yee said that.

You said the neighbors of marcus garvey park complained. Well dozens of neighbors of marcus garvey park volunteered at the promise land and donated material to the promise land. Dozens of neighbors called your direct phone number to let you know they support and believed in the promise land and told you to support our efforts not destroy them. Hundreds of oaklanders signed a petition in support of what we were doing and when our lawyers brought you those petitions who tossed them aside and said “you can get anyone to sign a petition. This petition means nothing.”

Yes, the people of oakland has lost absolute faith in you and the rest of city hall. You completely proved our point. We have made it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that we the people have to take the housing and homeless crisis into our own hands.

The people of oakland housed and homeless – came together and pooled our resources and labor to practice self governance in the midst of an ineffective and illegitimate city hall that has repeatedly chosen to do nothing about the housing crisis and displacement. We came up with a an effective, immediate solution. And you destroyed it

Shame on you, the city administrator and the mayor for going against the wishes of the people. Shame on ya’ll for disrespecting the role as a civic and public servant. Shame on you for bulldozing homes in the height of a housing and homeless crisis. Shame on you for lying. Shame on you for spying on us. Shame on you for criminalizing the work we did.

The $20 million dollars the city has promised for building homes for the homeless and the discussion about the housing crisis the city will have in march doesnt cut it. We need homes today. We dont need anymore talking. And we cannot wait for you to build homes in three to five years from now.

While ya’ll talk and wait to build and finally start to build. The homeless population will go from 4,000 to 8,000. And while you talk and wait, we will continue to take care of ourselves and live. We will continue to protect ourselves from the elements and create safety and dignity for ourselves despite your hostility and violence and violation of our rights. We will continue to provide food, shelter and clothing for ourselves and each other with dignity and respect.

We also understand that you have expressed to people who met with you last thursday that you wanted to set up this meeting to tell us how to work for you.

We are here to remind you that you are here to work with us. Even tho you gloat about not being an elected official who is not accountable to the city council or the people – we are here to remind you that you infact are a civil and public servant. Your salary is still paid for by the people of oakland. You are here to work for us. We do not and will not work for you.

Once you have publicly appologize to The Village, once you have placed all 16 permanent residents of The Promised Land in permanent lock and care program homes, once you are ready to work for us, once you are ready to listen and serve us, once you are ready to stop destroying encampments and traumatizing homeless people, once you are ready to stop lying, once you are ready to stop bringing the politics of donald trump to The Town, we will come to the table and talk with you.

But til then, we have work to do. We are in a crisis. and people are in deep need of housing.

The crisis is our permit. Our code is humanity. And the regulations we follow allow for immediate, healthy and proven solutions that will meet the need of those impacted by this state of emergency today.