Oakland gets $4.7M to clean up Wood Street homeless encampment

The city of Oakland will receive a nearly $5 million grant to help clean up one of the most dangerous homeless encampments in the city. 

The owner of Soundwave Studios located on Wood Street says this new funding should be a big help but enforcing the regulations already on the books, is also key to cleaning up the encampment. 

"We could use help from the City to maintain a buffer zone and they passed the law, but that doesn’t seem to be getting enforced," said Alan Lucchesi, owner of Soundwave Studios.  

Just last month, an audit showed Oakland was unprepared to handle its homeless crisis. The city would need more funding, resources and better management. Now the state says it’ll allocate $4.7 million to help improve conditions at the encampment on Wood Street.  

In October 2020, Oakland’s City Council implemented an Encampment Management Policy, which includes strategies to help mitigate health and safety risks in encampments. Right now, there are at least 300 people living on Wood Street in tents under the freeway, in RVs and surrounded by trash, and burned out, abandoned cars. 

"We have a lot of abandoned vehicles. It’s really an apocalyptic landscape and some money could be spent removing those. I believe money should be spent establishing and enforcing a buffer zone so that businesses and residential properties can operate and function," Lucchesi said.   

Since March of last year, there have been about 90 fires at the Wood Street encampment and one man was found dead in an RV after a fire broke out last month. 

"We have to co-exist, we have to find a way, we have to set some boundaries, we have to set some rules, so we can all be down here together," Lucchesi said. 

Oakland is one of 19 California communities receiving grants from the state to help provide housing and shelter for those experiencing homelessness.