Oakland – On Monday September 21st, the Oakland City Council will move one step closer to clarifying to how Oakland will manage and support homeless encampments throughout the city. Led by Councilmember Loren Taylor, the Council’s Life Enrichment Committee hopes to finalize a new Encampment Management Policy.
Councilmember Taylor emphasized that, “When there is a unified chorus from across Oakland including both housed and unhoused residents calling on the Council to provide necessary leadership on this difficult and complicated issue, we must respond to their demand for action. The time is now.”
This new policy explains how the City will reduce the negative health and safety impacts associated with homeless encampments – for both unhoused and housed residents. Although an administrative policy guiding the operational efforts of City departments in addressing encampments has existed since 2017, it was not formally reviewed and adopted by the City Council. As a result, it lacked the benefit of public comment from both housed and unhoused Oakland residents, and it did not reflect consistent policy direction from the Oakland City Council to City departments that this new policy will.
In February, Councilmember Taylor secured a unanimous vote by his City Council colleagues to initiate a robust stakeholder engagement process that would inform the development of a more comprehensive policy that the entire city could align around, ensuring that the City’s activities align with the needs and values of the City and all residents. Since then more than 1,200 residents have participated through the online survey and numerous Council meetings, town halls, and neighborhood meetings to weigh in on open questions including:
1. Should there be areas of the city that are off limits to encampments? If so, where?
2. What rules should be in place for those encampments that do exist to ensure health and safety for all Oaklanders?
3. In what manner should noncompliance with the policy be enforced?
4. For those residents living in encampments, what services and resources should the City provide? Under what circumstances?
Oakland residents are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions on whether the Council should proceed with this formal policy and what, if any, modifications should be made before final adoption.
To join Monday’s virtual meeting at 1:30pm, login into Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84617479852) or dial +1 669 900 6833 (Webinar ID: 846 1747 9852). For those unable to attend, you are encouraged to send an email message with your comments to the Oakland City Council at [email protected]
Councilmember Loren Taylor represents Oakland Council District 6 and serves as the Chair of the Oakland City Council’s Life Enrichment Committee, as well as a Commissioner on the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority and the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, and the Association of Bay Area Governments Executive Committee.
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