Schaaf asks Oaklanders to shelter homeless, may consider opening her own door
By Kimberly Veklerov
San Francisco Chronicle
3 November 2017
Photo courtesy of Santiago Mejia
Image: Oakland’s mayor wants to find 100 private units to house people coming off the streets in the next year, but landlords say expecting property owners to take in the homeless is impractical.
Earlier this month, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced a call to action for Oakland residents to open up their homes to individuals experiencing homelessness, even as landlords threatened there would be serious legal issues with the idea and the mayor herself said she has no immediate plans to open up her own residence.
Schaaf stated that this plea is only a small component of what the city of Oakland is doing to address the increasing homelessness crisis. The goal of this endeavor, Schaaf says, is to be a “personal campaign,” not tied to any city program.
College of Environmental Design faculty members Carolina Reid, Assistant Professor of City & Regional Planning, and Sam Davis, FAIA, Professor Emeritus of Architecture, both call into question the legitimacy and efficacy of this appeal.
Reid argued that if this personal campaign were to be effective, it must be accompanied by policy which attached incentives and education for landlords. Furthermore, Davis states that although the appeal appears to be “an aspiration for community involvement,” he does not believe it will be an effective strategy.
“I doubt seriously whether it’ll have an impact and whether people will do it. Many homeless have underlying reasons for their homelessness. They need support and social services,” Davis said.
That being said, Davis acknowledges that if even one person receives housing from this plea, it should be regarded as a “victory.” Further, he states that perhaps this call to action will show Bay Area residents that the homelessness crisis is an issue that affects the whole community, not just city governments.
In the coming year, Schaaf hopes that at least 100 units from Oakland residents open up to aid people get off the street. “This 100-rooms campaign is part of what I call the ‘right-now plan’ as we work to execute the long-term plan,” she said. “This is not a requirement. This is not a new set of regulations. This is a help-if-you-can request.”
Read more about Schaaf’s appeal here.