Cleanup underway of Oakland homeless encampment

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — A large operation is underway in the East Bay clearing out a homeless encampment. 

But this isn’t about making way for a new building or an expensive housing complex. 

It’s to create a safe place for people to park their RV’s for free.  

The homeless encampment cleanup in Oakland is only about a mile away from city hall, but despite the short distance, it’s as if it’s in another world.​

Abandoned cars, furniture left for dead, trash everywhere piled high, and tossed at random — This is where some people call home in Oakland on a four-acre stretch on wood street.  

But now, a massive cleanup is underway. 

The owner has already cleared away mountains of hazardous waste.

The plan is to turn the lot into something safe. 

Those that are currently living out here get first dibs.

It is a private-public enterprise.  

Joe DeVries is the assistant to the city manager. ​

“We started clearing the site to create a safe RV place for residents, the owner is leasing the land to us for cheap, but first we have to clean out and get the abandoned cars out, then build on the site,” DeVries said. 

DeVries says during the past month, Oakland police have identified 139 vehicles parked illegally on the property that will be removed.

Outreach workers have been contacting those living on the property to discuss and pave the way for them to move onto the property once it is cleaned up. ​

“This is for Oakland residents. We want to help in the housing crisis.”​

Oakland has already opened up a similar project a few months ago. ​

“It is going well, people are feeling good about it,” DeVries said. 

With the amount of debris on the large site, it will take some time to properly haul it away.

But DeVries says everyone is focused and working as fast as possible, especially as winter is coming.

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