Oakland opens new tiny home village near Lake Merritt for the city's unhoused

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Oakland opened a new tiny home community near Lake Merritt. "Lakeview Village" at East 12th St. and 2nd Avenue will provide transitional housing for those already living in the area in nearby tent encampments.

The rainy weather seemed an appropriate backdrop to illustrate the need for the new village in Oakland.

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"Lakeview Village" will provide warmth and shelter, and a measure of safety, to 65 unhoused residents currently living in nearby tent encampments.

"This is a really important homeless intervention because the winter is upon us, the rains are upon us," said Oakland City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. "We need to get people off our streets and into these shelters."

By the most recent estimate, more than 4,000 unhoused people live in Oakland, in conditions often much worse than this new community can provide.

"I've done a lot of winters out here," said Nino Parker, who told us he founded the tent encampment at the site in 2018. "This is my first winter out here where I haven't been out in the rain, but it is very miserable."

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Lakeview Village will be a step up from the "community cabins" already in Oakland.

Here there will be potable water, flushing toilets, other support services and life-enhancing amenities.

These tiny homes are definitely an upgrade from what Oakland constructed before, including working electricity and a built-in heater

Each unit at Lakeview Village will be single occupancy unless someone has a partner or friend they want to room with.

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And while this is meant to be transitional housing--a step toward a permanent home--residents can stay as long as they need to.

"We have no time limit," explained site manager Kevin Cockerham with the Housing Consortium of the East Bay. "We want to keep them here until they reach their goals and then we'll send them out."

There is also the sobering reality that for everyone who gets a spot in the new tiny homes, there are many more still out there.

"We need to do more of this," said Parker. "I just hope that this is a door that's opening around Oakland."

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