Oakland opened a new cabin community this week to provide temporary shelter for unhoused residents, particularly in the Wood Street area where scores of people were living under freeway overpasses.

The location of the new cabin community is 2601 Wood St., where there will be housing for up to 100 people. The opening comes following a federal judge’s decision last Friday to allow Oakland officials to clear the remaining people from the Wood Street encampment.

Oakland officials have not set a date for clearing the encampment; notices will be posted in the area at least seven days in advance of the eviction.

“This is a personal issue for me,” Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Tuesday about homelessness.

Thao lived in her car years ago with her young son and surfed couches, too. She admitted she has not had to live in a tent on the street.

She has repeatedly said she wants to take down the tents.

“Living in a tent is not dignified,” Thao said. “We need to make sure there is dignified shelter.” She said public safety will be better if Oakland shelters its homeless residents.

“This (cabin community) provides critical support to the Wood Street community and the nearby encampment,” LaTonda Simmons, assistant city administrator for Oakland, said in a statement. “We also look forward to the opening later this month of a new 100+ RV parking program that will serve our unhoused residents living in RVs and trailers.”

Accommodations with amenities

Money for the cabin community came from an $8.3 million grant from the state. City staff have spoken with about 70 residents of the Wood Street encampment and about 30 have expressed interest in living in the community.

When it is complete, the community will have 70 units for individuals, 12 cabins for couples and six units for people with disabilities. Residents will be able to access the site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Up to two pets per person will be allowed in the community. The community includes a shower, restroom, laundry facilities, a kitchen, security, parking and two meals each day.

Storage for personal belongings is limited, city officials said. The cabins have a heater, locked doors and windows, an overhead light and at least two electrical outlets.

The nonprofit Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency is managing the community.

“Living in a tent is not dignified. We need to make sure there is dignified shelter.”

Mayor Sheng Thao

Oakland now has 334 beds in its cabin communities. Case managers at the Wood Street community will work with residents to get them permanently housed. Case managers also help residents get California identification, benefits and a job.

City officials said the cabin communities have minimal rules. A code of conduct is established to provide a safe and healthy living environment for residents.

More than 5,000 homeless people live in Oakland, according to last year’s point-in-time count.

Last month, Thao sent a letter to U.S. Vice President and Oakland native Kamala Harris in response to a federal plan for cutting and preventing homelessness across the nation by 25 percent by 2025. The White House and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness are developing the plan.

Thao said in her letter that Oakland is “well-suited to be one of the cities and counties who will participate in the initial stages of the plan this year.”

Jeff Olivet, executive director of the council, said this month that federal officials were not yet ready to discuss the details of the plan.