OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Protesters gathered outside of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's home Saturday night to bring awareness to the city's increasing amount of homelessness.
Mayor Schaaf, who insists she has been and will continue to do everything she can to ease Oakland's growing homeless and affordability issues, saw the protests move from city hall to her front door.
A witness says about 50 people arrived at her home after 9 p.m. and put up several tents in her front yard. Dozens stayed around for several hours. Saturday night's march, rally and camp out comes at a time when Oakland is seeing encampments springing up in many parts of the city. A spike in rent, and rental homes or apartments being renovated, are contributors to the rise in homelessness.
"Today we're here at Libby's house because it's on her watch the unhoused population has exploded," said Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project. "And the solutions she's putting forward are nowhere near what it's gonna take to solve the problem."
Some had signs saying "Close the landlord loophole" and "offer space in your home mayor."
This is a problem that simply will not go away until lots of truly affordable housing is put into place.
That will require a ton of public and private sector money that is neither readily available or easily raised.
"There needs to be something done: more protections for tenants, more protections for the homeless that are dealing with being moved out of the only location they do have," Said Kaleeo Acatar of the Alliance for California Community Empowerment. "So, if there's anything that can be done, especially if she can help out, maybe do an acquisition fund, that would be crucial.
Schaaf was out of town during the protests and not inside the house, but issued a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle through spokesman Justin Berton:
“I share the passion of last night’s protesters and I’m proud to live in a city where freedom of speech is fiercely practiced,” she said Sunday. “We are working every day to fight the homelessness crisis that impacts all Oaklanders, and as we work to protect affordable housing in Oakland, we are also producing new units as fast as we can to alleviate the affordability crisis in our region.”