Mayor Schaaf Calls for Moving People from Encampments into Secured, Safe, Navigation Centers

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Oakland, CA – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is requesting the Council approve an innovative proposal to open the city’s first outdoor navigation center that will move people from encampments into temporary shelter as they await permanent housing.

The site – the first of possibly three in Oakland – will provide up to 40 people with portable “Tuff Shed” living structures and access to wrap-around social services in one secured location. The action is designed to immediately, “Move people off sidewalks and into safety and services,” Schaaf said.

“Homeless encampments are not healthy for anyone, least of all the people living in them,” Schaaf said. “Getting people into housing is hard and complicated work, but an outdoor navigation center will allow us to take the first step with an Oakland approach: At the speed of compassion and capacity.”

The outdoor navigation centers would mark a temporary solution until the city opens a new rapid-housing facility, also proposed by Schaaf, and modeled after the Bay Area Community Services’-staffed Henry Robinson Center. Eighty-seven percent of nearly 300 clients who lived at Oakland’s Henry Robinson facility last year now reside in permanent housing.

The first proposed outdoor navigation center would: 

          Provide up to 40 people a temporary “Tuff Shed” living structure for up to six months

          Provide portable toilets, showers, and sanitary living conditions

          Provide on-site social services to help clients transition into housing and employment

          Provide a secured environment 24-7, with access to authorized personnel only  

Mayor Schaaf is also exploring innovative partnerships with non-profit and volunteer groups to support the outdoor navigation centers. Private partners have expressed interest in financing the cost of the “Tuff Sheds” and support services.   

“Attacking this problem calls for an all-hands-on-deck solution,” Schaaf said. “For the health, safety, and livability of all Oakland residents, we need to attack the cost of living crisis both in the long term and in the right now – and this proposal addresses the immediate encampment crisis.”