Oakland set to open third Tuff Shed village

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The City of Oakland is about to open the third of its Tuff Shed villages-- a collection of tiny cabins, situated in areas of the city plagued by sprawling tent encampments. (KGO-TV)

The City of Oakland is about to open the third of its "Community Cabins" or Tuff Shed villages, a collection of tiny cabins, situated in areas of the city plagued by sprawling tent encampments.

"I'm on the list," said Casey Cummings, who told us she's lived for the past three months along a pedestrian underpass that connect Lake Merritt with the Oakland Estuary.

"Their plan is to evict all the people around the lake including Snow Park, and have them all end up in the Tuff Sheds, the 40 capacity Tuff Sheds," explained Cummings. "But there are far more than 40 people who are homeless around here."

A former business owner in Berkeley, Cummings told us she and many of her campmates have jobs, but still can't afford housing.

Now that the city's third Tuff Shed village is about to open just a few hundred yards away, Cummings is hopeful, but not certain, she'll soon have a roof over her head.

RELATED: Oakland mayor invites homeless encampment to new Tuff Shed community

The Community Cabins, or Tuff Shed, program is just part of a larger collection of services the city's trying to employ to deal with a homeless crisis-- which has jumped 26-percent in recent years.

"All I can say is we're doing this one step at a time, every city on the West Coast is dealing with this crisis and we're all trying everything we've got," said Joe DeVries, an Assistant to the Oakland City Manager. "This is the number one priority for the City of Oakland right now."

According to the city, of the 127 people who have participated in the program so far, 63-percent have moved on the either transitional or permanent housing. Twenty-three have found employment.

But living in a Tuff Shed isn't for everyone. Manuel Sanchez also lives along the pedestrian walkway that connects Lake Merritt to the Oakland Estuary. He's not on the list to move into the Tuff Sheds, saying right now, he prefers a tent.

"It's a very beautiful way to live, it's a sign of the times," said Sanchez. "It's kind of like a fashion statement right now. It's not something to be ashamed of no more."

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