Activists set up homeless encampment in front of Oakland's City Hall

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Chanting "Housing is a human right," activist and homeless individuals set up tents at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The encampment is known as the "Housing Justice Village." Its purpose is to "create a space to give our folks the opportunity for some healing after the trauma and brutality we have all endured," explained homeless mother and activist, Needa Bee.

"There were 15 folks who were going to be staying here, most of them homeless and it has grown. Some people are doubling up in tents... (My plan) is to stay here and to take care of each other and to talk to the public and inform the public," said Bee.

Homeless individuals along with housed Oakland residents covered their tents with posters that tell the story of eviction and living on the streets.

"We can't criminalize people because they don't have a place to live. Will you be staying here tonight? I'm staying here tonight until however long people can stay here," said Oakland resident Kasey Brenner.

It's unclear for how long the camp will be allowed to stay on the Frank Ogawa Plaza. Throughout the protest Oakland police officers surrounded the area.

The latest homeless count identified a total of 4,071 homeless people in the city.

The Mayor's office responded to the encampment and said the group has the right to protest peacefully, adding, "The housing and homelessness crisis is our community's priority and we are all working to create more safe shelter spaces for our unsheltered residents while seeking immediate local, state, and federal resources to build more affordable housing."
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