Oakland’s homeless population increased by 47 percent in two years

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OAKLAND (KRON) — It’s impossible not to see the tents, RVs and the people living on the streets in the City of Oakland.

Despite the City of Oakland’s five community cabin sites, its new safe RV park and its promise to add 700 new shelter beds by the end of the year, Oakland’s homeless population rose 47-percent in the past two years.

“It literally brings me to tears,” said city spokesperson Joe Devries. 

The numbers come from a one night street count done back in January, but released to county officials on Monday.

The city accounts for nearly half of Alameda County’s total homeless population.

“It doesn’t surprise me. I thought it would actually be even higher given what I see in the city,” said Dan Kalb, Oakland city councilor. 

The numbers also don’t surprise Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who tells KRON4 it’s all fueled by income inequality, insufficient housing supply and an inadequate mental health system

“What we got going on on the street is just unacceptable,” Devries said.

Now there are plenty of organizations doing what they can to help the homeless population in Oakland like St. Vincent de Paul who provide shelter, food and job training.”

“It’s frustrating to see the problem getting worse,” said Blase Bova, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County. 

St. Vincent de Paul community center works with people who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless 

“We were homeless for 90 days. It was frightening and terrible,” said Oakland resident Shakira Moore. 

The shelter provides lunch to 500 people a day and offers haircuts, showers, new clothes and laundry service, something Moore says saved her life.

“It’s like a second home,” Moore said. 

In 2017, Oakland had 2,761 homeless people.

Today, that number is 4,071.

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