A community kitchen, clinic, toilet and shower made out of cob and wood sit under the 880 Freeway within a homeless community west of Wood Street in West Oakland on April 18. Photo by Kyla Whitmore.

Members of three organizations, Artists Building Communities, Essential Food and Medicine, and Living Earth Structures, have built a kitchen, clinic, free store, stage, toilet, oven, and shower with and for a homeless community near Wood Street in West Oakland.

Made out of wood covered in brown cob, the structures that house these facilities seem almost as natural extensions of the earth upon which they sit. Empty wine bottles serve as windows and old discarded clothes serve as insulation. Sculpted images of trees decorate the structures’ surfaces and succulent plants sprout along the perimeters of their roofs. Winding stone pathways connect…

A tent in Oakland that serves as a home for a resident. Photo by Zack Haber on October 2, 2019.

On April 14, Oakland’s City Auditor Courtney Ruby released an audit of the city’s homeless encampment management interventions and activities for the fiscal years 2018–19 and 2019–2020. The 95 page report includes data and estimations about interventions, populations, costs, and availability of services related to homeless people and their communities. Claiming that the city “lacked an effective strategy…and did not provide sufficient policy direction or adequate funding,” Ruby also included recommendations for better addressing homeless communities. …

(left to right and from top to bottom) Board Directors Clifford Thompson, VanCedric Williams, Aimee Eng, Sam Davis, and Gary Yee. Board President Shanthi Gonzales, Student Board Director Jessica Ramos, Board Director Mike Hutchinson and Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell discuss proposed changes to The Reparations for Black Students Resolution during a meeting over Zoom on Feb 24.

During a Feb 24th Oakland School Board meeting, the Board decided to delay a vote to approve The Reparations for Black Students Resolution until March 24, preventing the resolution from being approved during Black History Month and frustrating many who had organized and advocated for the resolution’s passing.

“There is not one Black family in OUSD that hasn’t experienced the pain of anti-Black racism in our schools,” reads a statement on reparationsforblackstudents.org, a website run by the Justice 4 Oakland Students Coalition in support of the resolution. …

A protest has delayed an Oakland eviction of unhoused people and forced negotiations about a co-governed relocation. After hearing news of the departure of the City Administrator who was heading the negotiations, residents are refusing to leave the land they live on unless certain demands are met.

Unhoused residents (left to right) Matt Long, Deanna Riley, and Edward Hanson stand behind a barricade at Union Point Park. Photo by Zack Haber on February 28.

As the City of Oakland has stated intentions to relocate unhoused residents living in Union Point Park in East Oakland, some residents say they will refuse to move unless they can receive a new place to live where they can have independence and services for survival.

“We’re trying to figure out solutions to…

Members of The United Front Against Displacement and Peralta Village tenants hold signs at a protest outside of The Oakland Housing Authority’s West Oakland offices on Saturday February 13. (Left to right) Jacob Fowler, Dayton Andrews, Cole McLean, Colleen Donovon, Eddie Simmon, Cassidy Taylor, and a Peralta Village tennant to asked not to be named.

Peralta Village tenants and supporters gathered outside of Oakland Housing Authority’s [OHA] offices from noon to 1 pm on February 13 to protest what they see as insufficient maintenance and unfair threats of eviction despite Alameda County’s and Oakland’s COVID related eviction moratoriums.

Peralta Village is a public housing project in West Oakland consisting of 390 units and over 700 residents. It was founded just after World War II as segregated all Black housing. Today, many of the residents, almost all of whom are still Black, feel they are being treated unfairly. Some are coming together to demand change.


While facing intense rain and protests on January 27 and 28, California Highway Patrol officers and California Dept. of Transportation (CalTrans) workers cleared tents, trash, broken branches, and homeless people from a tract of CalTrans-owned land that sits between Mosswood Park and the 580 Freeway in North Oakland.

CalTrans referred to the operation as a cleaning. Activists, local civil rights lawyers, and the site’s residents called it an eviction. Two residents successfully resisted being removed from the site and stayed on the tract of land.

“They posted signs saying everybody has to get off the property,” said Osha Neumann, a…

Cassidy Taylor (left) of the housing justice group The United Front Against Displacement, and Eddie Simmon (right) a Peralta Village resident of 20 years, pose outside of a Peralta Village apartment on January 24. Photo by Zack Haber

Since last fall, about a dozen Peralta Village residents have been meeting with each other and Bay Area-based housing rights activists to petition, organize for improved maintenance, and protest The Oakland Housing Authority (OHA).

85 Peralta Village residents, or about 11% of the West Oakland public housing project’s population, have supported the efforts by signing a petition residents and activists wrote accusing OHA of “unresponsive or slow…follow through on repairs and regular upkeep,” “threats of eviction” despite eviction moratoriums that are currently in place, “not clearing garbage…on a consistent schedule” or providing recycling bins, and unfair ticketing from OHA Police…

Edward Hansen, who was born in Oakland and has lived in or near Union Point Park for over eight years, holds a painted anchor at the park. Union Point Park’s homeless community is set to be evicted before February 12. Photo by Zack Haber on January 17.

At a January 12 meeting, Oakland’s City Council discussed, but did not vote upon, amendments proposed by Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Nikki Fortunado Bas requesting the City offer unhoused residents extended shelter stays and individual shelter units following evictions of unhoused people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Out of concern for possibly spreading the COVID-19 virus, Kaplan said at the meeting that “people should not be made to share a room with those who they do not already live with.” …

During a meeting on December 15, Oakland’s City Council discussed defining what shelter options Oakland would be required to offer homeless people if the city clears their communities during the local emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They postponed making a final decision on the matter until the new year. Given dangers posed by the pandemic, City Council will determining whether it sees homeless shelters as a safe option for evicted homeless people.

The City Council unanimously approved the Encampment Management Policy (EMP) on October 20, which set clear parameters for where the City could choose to focus clearances. The…

A sign on the door of Peet’s Coffee at 1111 Broadway in Downtown Oakland announces that the store is temporarily closed. The COVID related temporary closure started December 5 and ended on December 14. Photo by Zack Haber on December 11.

In the wake of confirmed in-store positive COVID-19 cases at Oakland and Berkeley locations, low wage Peet’s Coffee workers and ex-workers say they want the company to organize better safety measures.

Since workers currently employed at Peet’s said they feared retaliation for speaking out, and ex-workers said they thought naming themselves could make securing new employment more difficult, all workers and ex-workers quoted in this article appear under pseudonyms. They are all in their early 20s and make or made around 16 dollars an hour.

“I couldn’t bear it anymore,” said Stephanie, who recently decided to quit working as a…

Zack Haber

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