UPDATE: On Feb. 2nd, OPD and Public Works came and raided The Village, removing the occupants and destroying the Tiny Homes.
It was plot of grass off of MLK, under and astride the Maze, the tangled freeway interchange in North Oakland.
Until January 20th, that is. Activists, as part of the MLK 120 hours of action, took over the plot of land and declared it a homeless (and anyone else in need) refuge – The Village.
They began building a couple of simple Tiny Homes, small 100-200 sq. ft. structures that can be erected at little cost and keep a homeless person or two out of the rain and cold, in a place someone can call their own. It’s a radically simple idea that state agencies whose job it is to do just that for the homeless can’t seem to grasp, or at least find a way to implement. These activists implemented the concept in a matter of days.
Here’s the initial statement from the organizers.
Statement from the land takeover – support from ALL welcome! Get to 36th & MLK at Noon if you can! pic.twitter.com/yuSZiEhJZV
— Nicole Deane (@sassmasterdeane) January 21, 2017
The effort is ongoing. As of Sunday, January 29th, the outside structures of three tiny homes had been constructed, and three or four more platforms on which to build tiny homes were present. A large food table, donated clothing racks, and an information booth had been set up, and a number of tents pitched.
— Indybay (@Indybay) January 30, 2017
Visits to the site by Oakland’s police have occurred, but the City has not yet attempted to destroy the work the people have created. It is the essence of authority that it cannot stand to be challenged without lashing out – it seems unlikely that anything other than the usual oppression will result, but maybe – just maybe – there is a slim chance that this time it might be different. Oakland has, at some level, and to some degree, recognized the futility of raiding homeless encampments and destroying people’s possessions, only to have more homeless groups appear a few blocks away from a raid. Perhaps there is some slight chance that there is someone in Oakland’s government with the sense to give the effort a chance to house the homeless and help tend to the needs of the needy, to show a way forward, something Oakland has been unable to do.
A few pictures from the site…