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Local Orgs. Unite Against Housing Crisis



Councilmember Caroll Fife launches summer action to end homelessness in Oakland.

APTP Activist Slams Gov. Newsom’s ‘CARE Courts’ Plan

By Maria Schindler

On Saturday, several local organizations kicked off their plan to end the growing housing and homelessness crisis in Oakland.

Gathering in Oscar Grant Plaza, in front of the new art installation that calls out police murders of Black people, the groups sought to mobilize the crowd around another kind of racialized violence: displacement. “The stress of worrying about being evicted creates health problems that are killing people. It’s not just gentrification. It’s genocide,” said Sharena Thomas. She is one of six organizers, now known as Moms 4 Housing, who sparked an international call to make housing a human right with their occupation of a home in West Oakland in 2019.

Speakers painted a devastating picture of the housing crisis in Oakland: an estimated 4,000 people unhoused, a quarter of whom are children and almost three quarters of whom are Black. A 24% increase in homelessness—and 800 deaths on the streets—in the past three years. And the so-called “CARE courts” proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom to address homelessness only threaten to restrict the rights of the unhoused even further, say these activists.

“This piece of legislation that we’re fighting against at the state level is incredibly damaging for the unhoused community; incredibly damaging for Black, Brown and Indigenous communities; incredibly damaging for people with disabilities, especially those with mental health disabilities,” said Anti-Police Terror Project Policy Director James Burch. Rather than funding much-needed resources for the unhoused, the legislation will spend $65 million to build a court system that will funnel unhoused people in conservatorships that remove decision-making power over their own care. “I have been doing this for a while and nothing scares me more than this piece of legislation. Nothing.”

Council Member Carroll Fife took the stage to detail some of the resources to end homelessness that the activists believe are already available to the community, if they demand them:

Funding: The State of California is heading into its budget year with a $97.5 billion surplus. According to a 2021 report by the Bay Area Council’s Economic Institute, an $11.8 billion investment (less than 15% of this budget surplus) could end homelessness in the Bay Area.

Land: City-owned lands could be utilized to provide emergency shelter and accommodation. One prime example is the 22-acre Northgate Parcel, which could hold up to 1,000 unhoused residents.

Housing: There are an estimated 4 empty homes for every homeless person in Oakland. Publicly-funded programs could be implemented to employ Oakland residents to rehabilitate dilapidated, abandoned buildings into deeply affordable housing.

Calling for a “summer of action,” Council Member Fife also shared some of her policy solutions, which included:

  • Repealing Article 34, which requires voter approval before low-income housing can be built.
  • Requiring landlords to be transparent about how many housing units they own, how much they are charging for rent and how many units are vacant.
  • Creating a moratorium on foreclosures to protect homeowners who may have fallen behind on mortgage payments during the pandemic.
  • Lessening minimum income requirements for new tenants and give tenants the right to know why their rental application was turned down.

Energized by the impassioned speeches, the audience then received a basic training in canvassing techniques from the newly launched organization, Care 4 Community. Over a dozen volunteers then disbursed into surrounding neighborhoods to connect with community members and build power for the new campaign.

To learn more, visit

The post Local Orgs. Unite Against Housing Crisis first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.

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