Oakland Turns to Tuff Sheds to Temporarily House the Homeless

The city of Oakland began constructing Tuff sheds this week to provide temporary housing for the homeless.

A total of 20 prefabricated structures measuring 10 by 12 feet are being built in downtown Oakland to put a roof over the heads of those living in the streets. The shelters, designed for two people, will be used for up to six months, officials said.

The sheds will allow the city to clear out the surrounding encampments that have become not just an eyesore but downright dangerous.

"We’re saying bring your partners your pets and your possessions," said Joe Devries, assistant to city administrator. "If we can show by doing this we can eliminate that problem, give people a humane, safe place to live and reduce the impact on the surrounding community, then we need to continue to implement this model."

Andre Harris said he’s been out on the street for nearly three years after falling on hard times. He hopes he’ll get to move out of his makeshift tent and into one of the Tuff sheds before the rainy season kicks in.

"At least they made a first step so we’re not forgotten people," Harris said. "It’s getting cold out here, really cold. People are getting sick."

Those who live in or drive through the area say they’re glad something’s finally being done to tackle the city’s shelter crisis.

"I think it’s something we have to come to terms with, and this is a good start," resident Geza Gergo said. "It’s getting cold and raining, and people don’t have to be outside sleeping."

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