Oakland Launches Operation HomeBase to Help Unhoused Residents During Pandemic

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More than 100 homeless seniors in the East Bay will soon have a roof over their heads and a safe place to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf held a press conference Tuesday to announce a new project designed to help unhoused residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Operation HomeBase is an isolation trailer program that will use 67 FEMA trailers donated by the state of California to help homeless and medically vulnerable people from East Oakland.

"Let's just call it an RV park, that's what it is," Schaaf said. "There is already a long list of people who absolutely qualify for these trailers."

Schaaf specified the trailers are not for people who tested positive for the coronavirus, but rather for people who are vulnerable to it and need pre-emptive isolation to avoid COVID-19 contraction.

She also said the site is a landmark because, "this is the first time the city has run an RV park."

Schaaf said the program is by invitation only and will not be available for walk-ups. Priority is being given to East Oakland residents who have medical problems such as heart and lung disease and are over the age of 65.

"We took great pains to ensure that this site is not going to just serve us during the health crisis, that it is designed to serve Oakland’s homeless challenge for the long-term," she said.

The program will provide running water and sewer service, as well as three meals a day, and the city plans to keep on using the site for homeless people even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

The goal, Schaaf said, is to eventually place people who are at the trailer site into permanent supportive housing but she said there's no time limit on staying there and "we're not putting anybody out on the streets during this crisis."

The city of Oakland will start moving in about 10 people per day beginning Wednesday.

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