Stand with Homefulness: Self-Determination for Unhoused Oakland Residents
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Homefulness is a not-for-profit, grassroots, poor and homeless people-led community and housing space, located in Loren Taylor’s District 6 AKA Occupied Ohlone/Lisjan Land (East Oakland) at 8032 MacArthur Blvd.
While homelessness has sky-rocketed in District 6, Homefulness seeks to empower houseless Oakland residents through our self-determination of land. While our project aims to build more homes for those desperately in need of shelter, Donald Trump’s administration continues to criminalize poor people, people of color, and people with disabilities. Housing is a life or death issue for us. We need to have on the ground solutions run by those most impacted by this crisis. This is what Poor Magazine have been doing for 22 years. We are respectfully asking Loren Taylor to join us as an ally in this fight.
In 2011, Poor Magazine launched the Homefulness project in East Oakland. Since that time, Poor Magazine has established a liberation school for homeless and formerly homeless children, applied and got an FCC license for PNN-KEXU 96.1 FM radio station where we cover issues important to District 6 residents, and started a weekly sliding scale cafe where we feed the community. We’ve done all of this while fundraising for and building these homes, without one dime of grant money.
Now we are facing an impossible situation: Because we are a VERY grassroots project, we have had to wait eight months to get fire sprinklers installed. We have not been a priority to fire sprinkler contractors—it took a long time to get signed off then begin to get all the other permits lined up. Right at that time, we were told by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) that our permits expired and we could not get an extension. DBI said we need to go all the way back to the beginning with zoning and file again and pay an impact fee which ironically goes to supposedly "support low-income housing" and is attributed to big developers, which we are absolutely not. We’ve been told we must do all of this before we can get more building done and inspections finished.
After eight long years of struggling to manifest this visionary work and going through every obstacle in our path, this final move felt like the violence of poverty and displacement and criminalization we poor people have faced in many arenas just trying to stay alive.
We are a small poor and homeless peoples led movement doing our best to manifest this very different and innovative solution to homelessness in a time when more and more of us are dying on the street.
Please help us as constituents of your district and your city make real change.
Leroy Moore, Lisa Tiny Gray-Garcia, Rupa, First Congregational Church of Oakland Prophetic Public Witness Team, Cecilia Cissell Lucas, PhD, Juju Angeles, Paige Kirstein, POOR Magazine solidarity family
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