Homeless population moves into Oakland's 2nd 'tuff shed' location

Dennis Young spent his first night sleeping in a 'tuff shed' Thursday.

While it may lack luxury, he says it beats where he has been sleeping the past few months— his car.

"It's more comfortable. It's like your own place. Your own accommodations," said Young.

Young, 61, is one of four people to move into this 40-bed tuff shed camp the city just opened on Oakland's Northgate Avenue near 27th street.

He says he worked as an insurance claims adjustor, injured his hip, lost his apartment and ended up in his car parked amid the huge tent city that surround the tuff sheds.

"There were future prospects of more housing. That's what triggered me," said Young.  

The tuff shed community has services on site to help those moving in to get more permanent housing.

It is also an attempt to start shutting down some of the largest encampments in the city, bringing a wide array of health and safety concerns. 

"The entire idea is to help more people off the street into safety and services, then get them on a path to self-sufficiency," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The city plans to slowly fill the tuff sheds to capacity over the next few weeks.

But one homeless man, sleeping in a tent just 40-feet from the Tuff Sheds, says they are not for him.

"Some might look at it as more secure. I see it as more confined. Barbed wire. More rules. More regulations," said Thomas Walonen.

"After a certain amount of time we will make people move. That invitation area then becomes a no camping area. And we will continue to enforce that once we have cleaned the area," said Schaaf.

Young says he likes the safety of living behind a security fence. He says he's ready to improve his life.

"There's a wish and a prayer for me," he said.

Mayor Schaaf says the city is considering more tuff shed communities. She says the next area will likely be near Lake Merritt.