‘A place of solace’: Oakland announces new cabin community for the homeless

The Caltrans-owned parking lot on Oak and Sixth Streets is about to become Oakland's next cabin community.

Nineteen of the two-person cabins are about to serve as temporary homes to 38 people. The city says those new residents are now living in homeless encampments a few blocks from Jack London Square.

"These are not just shelters. These are places where people heal, build their skills and get connected to jobs," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The city says in the two years since the cabin program began, 56% of those who have lived in them have gone on to find permanent housing thanks to the support services that come with the cabin.

One man, who spent a year sleeping in his car before moving into a cabin and getting help, now has an apartment and a full-time job.

"It was a place of solace. A place to get my mind together. When you are homeless and going through struggle you are not thinking about applying for a job," said Prince Channer.

The City of Oakland did not have to pay the $200,000 to buy and set up the cabins. Private citizens donated the money.

One Oakland resident helped raise $60,000 of the tab.

"The contrast between owning a home that was comfortable and also beautiful and my neighbors who were unhoused on the streets, that didn't seem okay and I wanted to be a part of making a difference," said Olivia Smartt.

The cabins are one small solution to Oakland's soaring homeless crisis.

This encampment of RVs and tents near the Home Depot in East Oakland are also getting the city's attention.

The city says it will move people and their vehicles to other locations next month.

"We are going to be opening other homeless facilities over the next two months like you have never seen," said Schaaf.