OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — People who live in four Oakland encampments around Lake Merritt were prepared to resist a planned move by city officials Wednesday, but as it turned out the relocation did not happen.
The delay came following a heated conversation between activists, the city of Oakland and the homeless people who live there.
Some people at the encampments began packing up their things early Wednesday morning, while others said they weren’t going to move no matter what.
A flyer that was posted in different locations near East 12th Street, including one by an encampment called “One Nation Earth.”
Nino Parker has lived on this public parcel of land since July 4th, mainly because he says it’s the safest spot in Oakland he can find and believes alternatives like the tuff sheds are dangerous.
“Bringing the people from an encampment and all those people on that encampment are doing drugs or whatever it is that they do, what makes them think that when they put them inside of a Tuff Shed they’re going to change their habits?” said Parker.
When city officials and Oakland police officers showed up, the situation got heated. An argument broke out between Parker and Oakland officials regarding the treatment of homeless people and their belongings.
“I’ve asked you for five years for senior housing, Joe. For senior housing. For a place where I can have my 11-year-old son come visit me,” said Parker.
Joe DeVries with the City Administrator’s office replied, “We’ve met over a dozen times.”
Parker still insisted that the city was not providing any help.
“Joe, when I say you don’t talk to me, you don’t give me any solutions,” said Parker.
Because of Martin v. The City of Boise, homeless in any California city or town cannot be punished for sleeping outside if they have nowhere to go. DeVries tells KPIX 5 these people do have somewhere to go. They just don’t like it.
“It’s hard to know what to do when people refuse services,” said DeVries. “When they refuse case management, when they refuse shelter beds, when they refuse beds at transitional housing facilities, when they refuse to move into the community cabins it really puts us in a difficult position. And we have to balance the needs of the entire city.”
While the notice from the city said the raid would be happening Wednesday, activists say they’ll be back here tomorrow in case it happens then.