Rebecca Kaplan Calls for Action to Stop Coronavirus Spread in Vulnerable and Homeless Communities

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Oakland police and city workers evict a homeless encampment in August 2019. Photo courtesy of KTVU.

To help provide emergency relief to the Oakland community, Council President Rebecca Kaplan has called a special City Council meeting Friday, March 27, via Teleconference to take action to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in vulnerable communities, including homeless encampments.

“We must take action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure our most vulnerable populations in Oakland, including our renters and unhoused community, have needed protections,” said Kaplan. “In this difficult time, we must look out for each other, and understand that displacement can worsen human suffering and public health.  To prevent the worsening of the spread of disease, we must take action to protect everyone in our community, including the most vulnerable.”

At the meeting, Kaplan is introducing a resolution for the city to follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Interim Guidelines on Homelessness and COVID-19 to only clear homeless encampments if housing or other safe shelter is provided.

The CDC has specifically said that clearing encampments “increases the potential for infectious disease spread.”  Kaplan is also introducing a resolution to acquire facilities, buildings, and supplies to aid homeless residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19  and a resolution to award a contract for regular trash pickup service from homeless encampments to reduce risks.

In addition, Nikki Bas and Dan Kalb are introducing an emergency eviction moratorium ordinance to protect renters, small businesses and nonprofits unable to pay rent due to loss of income and/or increased expenses because of COVID-19.

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