20 sheds made available for homeless housing in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Twenty TuffSheds have been made available for those living on the streets in Oakland. Mayor Libbie Schaaf says it's just one part of a larger solution in her city's effort to deal with the growing number of homeless people.

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A TuffShed camp is now in place next to one of Oakland's largest tent cities.

"We have a long-term plan and a mid-term plan. This is the right-now plan," said Schaaf.

"It's immediate relief," said Joe DeVries, the man in charge of Oakland's homeless outreach program. "We looked at how we could build something that would have the most immediate impact that was positive for both the unsheltered and for the surrounding community, to reduce the problems of the garbage, the blocked roadway... the rats that come with the garbage that piles up and everything else."

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DeVries says the city hopes to have the 20 TuffSheds ready for move-in next week. They would accommodate 40 people -- two to a shed.

They're being called "low-barrier" shelters -- meaning while the resident will have to abide by certain rules, but drugs and alcohol will not necessarily be prohibited.

Some aren't so sure this is the answer. Janae Scarbrough told ABC7 news her father and his dogs live in a tent just down the street from the TuffSheds.

"They're doing better in the tent with like furniture and stuff than in these sheds -- like this is something you put your dogs in," said Scarbrough.

"Anything that we try that is new will have risks but I think the greater risk is to do nothing."

Once the Tuffsheds are completely occupied, city officials say they'll begin dismantling the tent camps around them.
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