On April 19 at 11 am, NTO will hold a press conference and rally in the Home Depot parking lot at 4000 Alameda Ave to address the City's failures to follow its EMP and demand they settle the lawsuit. Thereafter on May 19, Neighbors Together Oakland will go to the Alameda County Superior Court to decide if the lawsuit against the City of Oakland has legal standing to allow it to proceed.
OAKLAND, Calif., April 14, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- On May 19, NTO will go to the Alameda County Superior Court to decide if the lawsuit against the City of Oakland has legal standing to allow it to proceed. Last Aug., local nonprofit Neighbors Together Oakland (NTO) filed a lawsuit against the City, demanding they follow their Encampment Management Policy (EMP), unanimously passed by Oakland's City Council in Oct. 2020. The number of encampments in Oakland has since risen from 160 to over 360. Pervasive crime, illegal dumping, and unwalkable streets are commonplace. There are three fires each day, including a recent tragedy at a West Oakland's Wood St. encampment that claimed one person's life.
The EMP was created to manage the adverse impacts of homeless encampments while balancing the interest of all residents. The policy does not allow encampments to be closer than 50 feet from residences, schools, parks, businesses, and critical infrastructure unless they are City approved and attached to a local nonprofit for oversight.
Last week NTO Founder and CEO Seneca Scott visited the Fruitvale district to speak with neighbors and local businesses about the EMP. One was Everardo Rodriguez, owner of Bay Restorators Corp. His family's business overlooks an encampment under the 880 underpass near Home Depot. In a recent email to the City Council and Mayor, Everardo describes his business as being "besieged" by the encampment. He mentions how his family has stopped several overdoses, robberies, and even rape attempts across the street from their business. "Our City was once very beautiful and clean for the most part; now it's a wasteland of filth and debris. I've been a resident since 1970; I want my clean City back," said an exasperated Everardo.
On April 6, Scott attended a Fruitvale District business safety meeting alongside other concerned neighbors and business owners. Hosted by Councilperson Noel Gallo, OPD, and BART, attendees included: Keba Konte, founder of Red Bay Coffee, and James Beard finalist Wahpepah's Kitchen. Business owners complained about frequent armed robberies, theft, and loss of business. There was a palpable sense of desperation in the room. "These are people's lives and legacies at stake. They won't accept any more word salads or platitudes from City leaders," said Seneca. "During the meeting, I was the first person to bring up the EMP, despite the primary issue being lawlessness stemming from open-air drug zone encampments. When I asked the room how many of them knew about the policy, only a few hands went up."
To learn more about NTO and the EMP, please visit their website at https://www.neighborstogetheroakland.org/.
Stacey Barker, Jade Umbrella LLC. c/o Neighbors Together Oakland, 1 323-833-8358, [email protected]
SOURCE Neighbors Together Oakland