OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The city of Oakland is expanding its Tuff Shed program for the homeless.
Oakland’s first Tuff Shed community is located on Sixth and Bush streets. Now, the city is opening up a second location on Northgate Avenue and Sycamore Street.
Oakland’s latest gated community is paid for with $150,000 in private grants and donations. The 20 sheds will house 40 people from Oakland’s ever-growing tent encampments.
It’s Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s way of handling a homeless problem that is exploding around her.
“When I go through a street encampment I am horrified. I am horrified that we are allowing our fellow man to live like this, but I’m also horrified that the city of Oakland looks like this,” Schaaf said.
Recently, the homeless encampments have spread to include the city’s iconic Lake Merritt.
daily walkers and joggers.
Daily walkers and joggers at Lake Merritt told KPIX 5 about the changes they are seeing in the area.
KPIX 5 asked Edwin Bennett, how many more homeless people did she see in the area over the last year?
Bennett said, “Maybe twice as many.”
Arlicia Lee said, “I see more and more garbage and trash laying around. And that’s a problem.”
Once the shelter opens later this week, the tent encampment has to go.
Schaaf said, “We then clean and clear that area and we do prohibit re-encampment, new people moving into that area.”
It is the same tact the city took in a section of West Oakland earlier this year.
Schaaf said, “They will get services where they will have a secure, private place to sleep at night.”
Mariah, who lives in a tent just across the street from the new shed complex, says she plans on staying put.
KPIX 5 asked her if she would move into one of the sheds.
Mariah said, “No…it reminds me of a concentration camp.”
But Schaaf says it’s time to get Tuff.
“We are not going to accept this, but we do move at the speed of compassion,” Schaaf said.
In fact, Schaaf is already planning on two more Tuff Shed villages.
Schaaf said, “Lake Merritt is the next focus because it has become very alarming.”