A Radical Idea to Help the Homeless: Homeowners Should Open Their Doors

The mayor of Oakland is challenging homeowners to offer their extra rooms and in-law units to the homeless, with a target to create a modest 100 new permanent supportive housing units.
November 24, 2017, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tony Webster

"For everyone who has ever passed one of this city’s sprawling homeless encampments and wondered how to help, Mayor Libby Schaaf has an answer — open your door to someone in need of shelter."

Thus writes Marisa Kendall to share news of an anecdote from Mayor Schaaf's State of the City address earlier this month. In the speech, reports Kendall, "Schaaf challenged Oakland residents to 'give up that Airbnb. Fix up that back unit,' and offer the space to people in need."

Mayor Schaaf has also formalized the challenge, creating a partnership for participating homeowners with the local nonprofit Bay Area Community Services. "The potential tenants — residents of BACS’s 137-bed Henry Robinson center — would have jobs or be on government assistance and able to afford rent," according to Kendall. Mayor Schaaf's goal is to add 100 units to the Bay Area Community Services inventory in the next year.

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Published on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 in East Bay Times
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