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.
Needa Bee, Phone: (510) 355-7010
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