Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Tuesday that the city is launching an isolation trailer program to house 130 homeless and medically vulnerable people in East Oakland during the new coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Speaking at a news conference at the site at a parking lot at 633 Hegenberger Road, Schaaf said “Operation HomeBase” will use 67 trailers donated by the state to bring people into preemptive isolation and give them a “safe respite” so they avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Schaaf said the program will provide three meals a day to the people who live there and run water and sewer connections to each trailer for maximum safety and dignity.
She said the site is a landmark because, “This is the first time the city has run an RV park.”
Schaaf said the program is by invitation only and will not be available for walk-ups. Priority is being given to East Oakland residents who have medical problems such as heart and lung disease and are 65 or older.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not eligible for the program but instead are put in isolation elsewhere.
Schaaf said the goal is to eventually place people who are at the trailer site into permanent supportive housing, but she said there is no time limit on staying there and “we’re not putting anybody out on the streets during this crisis.”
She said the city plans to keep using the trailers for homeless people even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
Schaaf said the city planned to start moving in about 10 people a day starting Wednesday, saying the intake process is lengthy and there is a long waiting list.
The mayor said, “We recognize that giving respite to 130 people is not the answer to our homeless problem but this is a tremendous step forward to giving people wonderful, safe and healthy places to live and not just during this pandemic.”
Schaaf said 15 additional trailers for vulnerable homeless people will be set up in West Oakland in the near future.