Mayor announces success of 'Keep Oakland Housed' program; Home Depot campers get ready to move

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- 15 months in, Mayor Libby Schaaf says a program designed to keep people from becoming homeless in her city is working.

"A little over a year ago, we announced this incredible public, private partnership," said Schaaf.

"Keep Oakland Housed in the last year and a half has kept 2,117 households from losing their housing," said Schaaf.

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The program is made up of primary organizations: East Bay Community Law Center, Bay Area Community Services and Catholic Charities of the East Bay.

"It just shows what a partnership can do when we take on this humanitarian crisis of homelessness," said Schaaf.

The 2,117 households helped so far by "Keep Oakland Housed" include about 4,000 individuals. For more than 1,000, the aid came in the form of legal services. 779 received financial help.

Inez Washington is one of those helped by the organizations that make up Keep Oakland Housed, in her case with emergency funds to get caught up on her rent.

"I'm a retired physical education teacher," said Washington, who told us she lost her job and her mother around the same time and fell on some very difficult times, facing eviction from the Lake Merritt apartment she had lived in for 20 years. "I'm very, very, very thankful for Catholic Charities for their help."

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For those already homeless, like the dozens of people living at Oakland's infamous encampment near Home Depot off High Street, it's time to clean up and move on as the city plans to dismantle the camp over the next six weeks.

Those currently in RV's are being offered a space at a new "Safe RV lot" opening up across the street.

The city claims the others, living in tents and cars, will be offered other options.

The goal is to have the encampment completely cleaned up and closed by mid-March.

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