I must start off by saying I laughed when I heard that Alameda County agreed to lease the City of Oakland use of the Old North County Jail for $1.00 a year. Would the officials who had this idea stay in North County? Exactly how it is that this is an option just because someone else feels like, “well it’s better than where you are now so this is what I have to offer you, take it or leave it”?
All throughout my incarceration, I have never called my cell a home. Moreover, I consider the bars that cage me disrespectful, even to animals. So, I think Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf let down some very vulnerable people when she told the San Francisco Chronicle that a vacant jail is an “obvious” option for a homeless shelter.
When the problem of homelessness was in its infancy and jails were expanding to greet new “clients” each day, the issue concerning the growing number of unsheltered people on the street was practically invisible. Years later, two wars overseas, and a financial meltdown created The Great Recession.
As the homelessness crisis worsens, cities all over the U.S. are desperately trying to come up with solutions. California, for example, is in a frenzy to build new homeless shelters that will fit thousands of new shelter beds.
Mental illness is often cited as one of the driving factors behind the growing homeless population in cities such as Berkeley and Oakland. A lack of resources for the mentally ill has led many people to the streets.
The project that is documenting the items—and identities—that are lost in encampment sweeps.
The homeless property yard at the San Francisco Department of Public Works saw an unusually busy Saturday afternoon on June 22—more activity than the workers anticipated.
When I was homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area, I relied to a large degree on the moral support of lifelong friends and family who were not. For one reason or another, it was not feasible for any of them to let me stay in their homes for any substantial length of time.
Sanctioning self-governed encampments. Providing storage options for unsheltered residents. Prohibiting evictions during extreme weather. These are just some of the changes that Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas is suggesting to the City of Oakland’s Encampment Management Policy.
As I walk through a Roma village in Istanbul, I see pink and yellow painted houses that are rusting, with open windows that have clothes hanging down the sides. There is trash everywhere I step. Ahead of me in the distance, I see tall buildings that are multicolored and modern. These are the apartment buildings that are replacing the Roma village. As Roma activist Sadi Cati shows me around, the Roma people living in the little houses look very unhappy while staring at me.