First homeless Oakland residents to move into Tuff Sheds stop-gap to permanent housing

Oakland city leaders unveiled a new way to house the homeless using prefab Tuff Sheds  as an idea behind the city’s new Outdoor Navigation Center.

The first people will be invited to start moving in Monday afternoon. The idea behind the program is to help people transition to more permanent housing after a six-month period.

A total of 20 Tuff Sheds sheds sit on an empty lot between the 980 and 880 freeways in West Oakland.

Each shed will house two people; the accommodations are sparse. There's no electricity, insulation or heat. But here there are battery-powered lanterns, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. There’s also a dog run in the back of the lot and there’s on-site 24 hour security along with regular access to social services.

“This is a stop-over,” said Joe Devries, assistant to the city administrator, said. “I think it's better than the current circumstances people are living in. These are safe. They lock. There’s storage.” 

People who are currently living on the streets, around 6th and Brush, will be the first to be invited to move in.

According to a city census, it's estimated there are more than  1,900  "unsheltered" people living on Oakland streets. 

“I think my sense is that this will work for some,” said Oakland councilwoman Lynette Gibso-McElhaney. “But at this scale and at this pace, it doesn't mitigate 2,000 people living on Oakland streets.”

John Reposa said he’d be willing to try.
“I don't want this kind of lifestyle anymore,” he said. “Last night it was pretty cold.”