OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Oakland city leaders have come up with a constructive, temporary fix for the homeless crisis in that city. They are putting up experimental shelters in the form of storage sheds.
The plan is to temporarily move homeless people from tent cities into sheds made by Denver-based Tuff Shed.
Mayor Libby Schaaf says it’s not going to solve the city’s homeless problem but it could be a temporary fix.
They’ve gone up quickly. An empty lot owned by PG&E was transformed in a matter of days into an experimental shelter unlike any others in the Bay Area.
“It is exciting to see the structures going up,” said Schaaf.
For now, about 20 Tuff Sheds have been built for a homeless population that has spiked in the last two years by nearly 25 percent. Forty people will move in starting next week.
“Let’s be clear, this is not a permanent solution,” said Schaaf. “This is a right now intervention.”
The mayor says there is a long-term plan and state and local funding to build affordable housing for the homeless in the coming years. But she had to do something in the meantime.
“This is something that we are trying. We cannot do nothing. We have to try different strategies to see what works,” she said.
City officials say people will stay here for roughly six months while they try to get back on their feet.
They’ll have a bed,” said Joe DeVries, Assistant to the City Administrator. “We’ll have two offices on-site with a case manager a site manager, security.”
When the city announced the plan in October, KPIX spoke to some homeless people who told us they were skeptical anyone would live here, though they admitted anything would be better than the tent cities sprawling across Oakland.
“I think it’s a blessing. It’s been a long time coming,” said one man living on the street.
The mayor says if this works there will be more Tuff Shed shelters.
“We do have a second site identified and as soon as this one is up, we will start looking at setting up a second site,” she said.