College of Environmental Design alumnus Bo Chung (M.C.P./M.P.H. '18) recently co-authored a report on homelessness in Oakland, California.
The report, titled “Housing the Unhoused,” represents a joint effort the Dellums Institute for Social Justice/Just Cities, The Village, and The East Oakland Collective to identify and advance community-centered solutions for unhoused individuals. For the report, the three groups, collectively called the Housing & Dignity Project, commissioned the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley to evaluate current community and government efforts, as well as identify comparable efforts undertaken by other communities. The Project also faciltated community listening sessions with unhoused residents and community advocates to identify both immediate and long-term community needs.
The report addressed the current policies used to address homelessness in Oakland. They include: criminalizing the homeless, limitation of access to housing services for the newly homeless, failure to provide beds for unhoused individuals, and failure to build affordable housing for Oakland residents. Current measures by the city involve evicting and destroying homeless settlements, and coercively relocating unhoused individuals to Tuff Shed sites, where enforcement of strict and punitive measures led one former resident to character the site as “resembl[ing] a prison.”
Short term solutions focused on setting up emergency housing within the next six to twelve months, as well as providing extant encampments with access to water, sanitation, and waste disposal. Long term emergency solutions emphasized establishing permanent affordable housing for Oakland's low-income residents. The report also recommended sources to fund these initiatives, and identified available public land parcels where the City could develop permanent housing.
In September, a report published by the UN Report on Adequate Housing identified two U.S. cities for housing-related human rights violations—Oakland and San Francisco.
To read the report in full, as well as the complete policy analysis conducted by UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy's Rawan Elhalaby and Dr. Dan Lindheim, visit the Dellums Institute here.
Chung is a Healthy Cities Consultant at the Dellums Institute for Social Justice/Just Cities. In 2017, he and his mentor, Professor Malo Hutson, received the Schmidt-Macarthur Fellowship, an international program on the circular economy for postgraduate design, engineering and business students. He and cohort alumni Jaime Lopez were also recipients of the UC Berkeley USAID Global Development Fellowship, which supports research to address pressing sustainable development challenges, such as housing and infrastructure crises caused by natural disasters.