Oakland, California – It’s been a long-term problem addressing the homeless crisis in Oakland and now those at the center of the fight are trying their own solutions.
A group of unhoused individuals are buying land and building their own community to get people off the street permanently.
The land on MaCarthur Boulevard and 76th Avenue is where they plan to build their own rent-free permanent housing community.
“This dream of Homefulness is a homeless people solution to homelessness,” said Tiny, co-founder of the organization Homefulness.
The 10-thousand-square-foot lot was bought by a group of current and formerly unhoused individuals.
They finished their first project earlier this year where they’re providing 11 families with free housing, schooling, and healing-centered programming.
“I don’t have to worry about not having the rent, being outside, about living in the ways that me and my mom lived that are so unsafe,” said Tiny. “So we believe that this vision needs to grow.”
The new land will provide space for 14 houses made up of tiny homes and handmade structures. It will be a place to call home for some of the hundreds of unhoused people on Wood Street evicted from the Caltrans land earlier this year.
“Those in power in the city like to create solutions, encampment management policies that further displace people,” said Xochitl Bernadette Moreno, unhoused advocate. “These solutions that are being created by and for unhoused people.”
Donations make their vision possible. It will cost $200,000 to start the building process. Communities in other states are already asking to copy the model.
A possible solution they hope starts a movement.
“If each person learns that skill and is able to go off and do that skill somewhere else, and acquire land, that means 14 more people will be able to be housed and take that skill out there and teach more people to do that,” said John Janosko, Wood Street community leader.