While establishing a fire lane and cleaning a portion of a Home Depot parking lot where around 50 unhoused residents live, on Oct. 22 and 23 Oakland’s Department of Public Works (DPW) destroyed over a dozen self-made wooden homes and left those displaced with no alternative housing options.
Volunteers from all over the Bay Area have convened in this empty lot as part of the Youth Spirit Artwork (YSA) Tiny Homes Project, which aims to build 100 tiny homes for housing-insecure young people in the East Bay over the next 10 years.
Jorge Peña walked his tiny dog, Chiquita, around the inside perimeter of 711 71st Avenue in Oakland, behind the RVs parked neatly facing each other, stopping to say hello to his neighbor sitting in the shade. He is one of the first residents of Oakland’s new, invite-only “safe RV lot” next to Coliseum BART, and he calls it a “godsend.”
“We define poverty as a dollar amount, but if you make a dollar above that dollar amount are you still poor?”
This was just one of the questions raised at St. Mary’s Center on April 18, when academics, activists, and advocates gathered to hear the findings of a new report called “Pushed to the Bottom.”