Encampment closure to enable construction of 170 units of affordable housing in Oakland

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California Construction News staff writer

The City of Oakland has assembled a team to clear an encampment on Wood Street, transitioning residents, their pets and belongings to shelter programs. The operation is expected to take two weeks to complete and will enable construction of 170 affordable housing units.

Crews started removing tons of debris, illegally dumped material and stolen, burned-out and inoperable vehicles from the city-owned land and towed 12 vehicles from the site on the first day.

“Every Oakland resident has a right to housing, safety, and dignity,” said LaTonda Simmons, assistant city administrator. “That’s why our teams are working so hard to transition residents off the street and into shelter programs that enable them to eventually secure permanent housing.

“We were able to acquire state funding to build a new cabin shelter program, taking into account the needs and desires of the Wood Street community and we are eager to finally enable construction to begin toward a permanent affordable housing development on the Wood Street parcel for up to 500 Oakland residents.”

A 170-unit permanent affordable housing project slated for the Wood Street parcel cannot begin until site is closed and secured.

The city is offering spaces at the new Wood Street cabin program, funded by an $8.3 million grant from the State of California, and a Safe RV parking site on 66th Avenue. The Wood Street cabin program can house about 100 people in cabins for individuals, double cabins for couples, and accessible cabins for people with disabilities.

The cabin program design team was able to accommodate many of the needs and requests of encampment residents, who specifically requested plumbed bathrooms, a community space, the ability to cook food, and workforce opportunities. The cabin program also includes shower and laundry facilities, limited secured storage for personal belongings, security, parking, and two meals per day.

Each cabin includes a secure, locked door and windows, a wall-mounted heater, an overhead light and electrical outlets. Program participants have 24/7 access to the site and are welcome to bring up to two pets. The program includes housing navigation, job placement support, case management, counseling, and other services.

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