Oakland Tuff Sheds make dent in homeless problem

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's been exactly one month since the city of Oakland constructed Tuff Sheds to try to house at least some of the city's growing homeless population.

During that time, the city has moved out virtually all the tent encampments around them.

"I'm living in there now. I just started living in there this morning," said Jeffrey Hill, who has been homeless and living on the streets in Oakland for seven years. "It has to be more protective in there and out of the rain and stuff, the weather."

The Tuff Sheds constructed near downtown exactly one month ago and designed to move at least a few dozen of this city's 2,000 homeless people out of their tents.

"We're at 85 percent capacity," said Joe DeVries, an assistant to the city administrator, which runs Oakland homeless outreach program.

He says there are only six spaces left in the Tuff Sheds at 6th and Castro.

"I guarantee you it's better than a tent," said DeVries. "These things don't leak when it rains. You've got a hard structure. You've got a locking door. It isn't perfect, but its certainly a step up from where people were."

In the meantime, the city kept its promise to clean out most of the tent encampments that engulfed the area...leaving former residents with no choice but to move on -- or move in, to the sheds.

"It's a good step toward a new life," said Hill.

The city admits, this approach isn't perfect and stresses it's meant to be temporary. The goal is to find permanent housing for each resident within six months.
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