Encampment Bans


Tiny - Posted on 21 October 2020

It is difficult to find information on Encampment Bans in California. I believe this isn’t an accident, because these “bans” against the safe gathering of people who have nowhere else to go is the ugly side of our state that it isn't so eager to be made public to the world. When I search the topic, I am purposely shown stories of how the “homeless problem” has terrorized San Francisco and the Bay Area for decades, and so much from previous and current mayors have been done to help the homeless. MIllions of dollars, task forces, temporary shelters and kkkages, designed to imprison our people without saying it out loud, have been used to solve the homeless problem. We aren’t a problem that needs to be fixed. That, however, is the gaze that dominates most mainstream media, and because of that, Oakland's new Encampment Management Policy is receiving widespread support. 
 
“It’s not a really well-thought out plan, its redlining” said a lady from the Wood St. houseless encampment, when asked about this new initiative created and led by the city of Oakland, “The H word (referring to the word ‘homeless’) is the new N-word” she continued. This lady, who had lived in this area for 8 years after being burned out of her previous occupation, lets it be known that she has nowhere to go if this plan is put in place. Deecolonize Academy went out to the encampment after hearing there was going to be a mass displacement, and came out there to learn more about what was going on from the source. We learned that a billionaire by the name of Fred B. Craves, who owns a fish-oil distribution company, is attempting to displace all of the houseless people from his portion of stolen Huichin land.
 
This new Encampment Management Policy is a few key plans grouped together, called PATH. The PATH framework includes these things; Prevention, protecting low-income people from losing their housing and becoming houseless (with a subtext stating that “prevention strategies aren't addressed in this policy,” making that the first lie among many that these Policies and Bans present to the public) Emergency Response meaning sheltering and rehousing meaning building houses for houseless people, but only ones who qualify and go through years of paperwork and waiting, and Housing Development, which is building new apartments and developing on more indigenous land instead of buying up and using the thousands of privately owned lots and abandoned houses all that are all over the Bay Area.
 
“This Encampment Management Policy is a bunch of bull****, it's really a codification of what the City of Oakland has been doing forever, now they’re just putting it in the books so they can eventually displace all working people in Oakland” states Dale, representing the United Front Against Displacement, when asked about the aforementioned Policy, “...all the people experiencing homelessness, even who might be housed right now, are under threat of being completely displaced from Oakland.”
 
While researching the history of encampment bans in San Francisco and the Bay Area, a couple of things stand out to me. I see amazing, inspiring photos, first black and white but as the years became more recent, with color, of our former mayors, Feinstein, Browi, Newsom, Lee, and then our current mayor, Longjohns Brood. All of those pictures were the same but in different ways, the mayor, standing with the homeless people, or holding some kind of cleaning or construction tool, showing that they do so much for the homeless, all the while ordering the Department of Public Works to sweep the very people they were just “talking to”.
 
 Feinstein relied on church shelters to take care of the “problem,” Brown declared that homelessness was a problem that “may not be solvable.” Newsom with his “Care not Cash” program, slashing cash payments to houseless people, instead focusing on housing that only helped a small percentage of them and charged them for shelter beds. Lee, clearing large swatches of SoMa (South of Market) to appease the massive wave of tech gentrification. Breed who is currently driving a “housing first” initiative, safe RV lots and safe injection sites, all the while continuing the DPW sweeps and creating a 30% increase of the houseless population since 2017. With Oaklands new Encampment Management Policy, we are going to see the same things happen as they have in the history of the Bay Area, continuing the forceful removal of people who have nowhere else to go and are just trying to survive.          

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