Oakland Launches City’s First Compassionate Tiny Home Village Homeless Intervention

Oakland News Now, August 3, 2021

By Nikki Fortunato Bas

Site Preparation Begins This Week to Transition Up To 65 Unhoused Residents Into Dignified, Supportive Housing with Wrap-Around, Trauma-Informed, and Harm Reduction Services

OAKLAND, CA — Yesterday, Monday, August 2, 2021, site preparation began to create a tiny home community for unhoused Oakland residents at the city-owned parcel of public land at E. 12th and 2nd Ave, to operate with shared community agreements among a Community Council of unhoused residents, nearby housed residents and small businesses, service providers, and the City of Oakland. Council President and District 2 Representative Nikki Fortunato Bas has been advocating for the past year for the City to pilot this supportive shelter solution on the largest vacant parcel of City-owned land in District 2.

The community agreements will cover aspects of co-living such as policies on guests, shared clean-up responsibilities, standards of behavior, substance use, and more.

Prioritizing the residents currently living at the E. 12th parcel encampment for first-placement into the program, the project will transition up to 65 unhoused individuals off of Oakland streets into humane, dignified housing with comprehensive trauma-informed and harm reduction services, including services to treat addiction and mental health needs. The City has also coordinated ongoing outreach to encampments in the immediate geographic area and plans to fill spots on a rolling basis.

Upgraded Resident Living Conditions: The planned Pallet Shelter structures improve upon the City’s current offerings by providing dignified new amenities: electricity, privacy and security through a lockable door, smoke detector, carbon monoxide monitor, fire extinguisher, and ample storage, all using mold, rot and pet-resistant materials. The program will also include mural and beautification efforts in partnership with neighbors and community groups.

“This project will significantly upgrade the living conditions of our unhoused neighbors and make use of public land to help address our affordable housing and homelessness crises — which the people of Oakland have overwhelmingly expressed must be our city’s top priority,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. “Through this project, we will demonstrate that compassionate, trauma-informed, tiny home communities can effectively create safer and healthier communities, and also help residents successfully transition to stable housing and health.”

For several years, the E. 12th parcel has been slated for a long-delayed housing development by Lakehouse Commons, the developer group made up of UrbanCore and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC). If Lakehouse Commons secures project financing, the development would not begin for at least another year. An update on the development is expected from City staff in August 2021.

The City of Oakland is currently recruiting to fill the Homeless Administrator position to lead the City’s homelessness response and provide inter- and intra-agency coordination.

About Council President and District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas

Nikki Fortunato Bas is President of the Oakland City Council and represents District 2, one of the most diverse districts in the city.

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