OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A homeless encampment located behind a Home Depot in Oakland was finally being cleared out Tuesday after years of controversy and blight.
It’s been a long time coming, after the city was put on notice to clean and clear out the encampments because they were reportedly losing millions of dollars in thefts.
All of the RVs left on East 8th Street Tuesday, we’re told belong to one homeless man.
City leaders say he set up with vehicles packed to the brim, surrounded by scattered trash and glass, bicycles piled on top of each other and merchandise reportedly stolen from the neighboring Home Depot.
“Stealing from them is like stealing from me and my family,” said transporter Albara Segovia of Los Angeles.
Segovia transports goods to the Home Depot in Oakland from Los Angeles and says theft was a big problem for them too.
“Some of them used to jump on my truck to try to steal stuff,” he said.
Now the encampment is being cleared out.
Oakland City Councilman, Noel Gallo is overseeing the cleanup effort as public works crews were hauling it all away.
Gallo says the Home Depot put the city on notice to resolve the growing homeless encampments that surround its store.
He says the city can’t afford to lose their business.
“What concerns me the most is I have 300 people working here," Gallo said. He said many are people who grew up in East Oakland and that his community could not afford to lose 300 jobs. "Then I lose $8 million of annual tax money that helps me pay for services,” said Gallo.
A new report reveals a 47 percent rise in Oakland’s homeless population in the last two years. That’s according to a street count released by county leaders. Gallo says the city is allowing it to spiral out of control and now neighbors plan to file suit.
“Not only is Home Depot and the businesses across ready to sue but there’s now neighbors on High Street and Bosque that are ready to sue,” said Gallo.
In the meantime, the campers will continue to clear out with the option of relocating to a designated RV location by the Oakland Coliseum.
Benjamin Caliz has had his RV parked in that safe zone for about a month.
“We got electricity and everything we don’t have to use our generator out there real loud and stuff. This is a blessing right here,” said Caliz.
National attorneys from Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta will travel to Oakland on Thursday to meet with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, to decide when the other encampment will be cleared out.