The Oakland City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed its first Encampment Management Policy, which according to city officials, is intended to “reduce the negative health and safety impacts associated with homeless encampments.”
Aspects of the new policy include identifying sensitivity areas, addressing unsafe conditions and providing health services to unhoused residents.
“I’m grateful to the City Council who voted unanimously for a new encampment policy that will help us improve the well-being of all our residents, housed and unhoused,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in written statement. “Ending homelessness is a moral imperative.”
The policy was developed over the course of eight months, during which Councilmember Loren Taylor met with over 1,200 Oakland community members, including residents, business owners and city employees.
“Residents of Oakland have been asking us to lead on this seemingly intractable issue and we finally have,” Taylor said. “I am grateful to all of my council colleagues for their contributions to this policy and unanimous support to move forward in response to overwhelming community demand for action.”
The policy has drawn backlash from some East Bay activist groups that contend it will lead to more arrests and the criminalization of unhoused residents.