Homeless Builders Create their own Solutions to Homelessness while the City Slows Them Down & Charges Exorbitant Fees

Tiny - Posted on 31 January 2020

Homeless Builders Create their own Solutions to Homelessness while the City Slows Them Down & Charges Them Exorbitant Fees 
Poor, Homeless, Bordered,Incarcerated, Indigenous and Disabled People launched Homefulness - a homeless peoples solution to homelessness in 2011. The City of Oakland Building Department has charged permit fees in excess of 35,000 and private corporations like PGE and DWP over 100,000  This situation makes it impossible for poor, working class Black, Brown and Homeless builders to build homes in Oakland.
What: Press Conference followed by legislative visit 
When: 12noon Tuesday, Feb 4th 
Where: Oakland City Hall- Oscar Grant Plaza 
"The "City"  has been charging us several thousands of dollars we didn't have from the beginning just to build Homefulness t"to code" and its made it so hard for us to even build this project as poor and homeless people, " Muteado Silencio, homeless, indigenous co-founder of Homefulness and POOR Magazine.
Homefulness, a homeless peoples solution to homelessness which was launched in 2011 by a multi-generational, multi-racial, community of homeless, migrant, disabled, and indigenous peoples trying to create their own self-determined solution, within the laws set forth by the Oakland Dept of Building Inspection so it would never be a possibility for their dream to be destroyed or shut down by claims that it "wasn't up to code" which happens all the time to homeless and low-income builders, has been plagued from the beginning of their project by huge fees, from public and private agencies like PGE and DWP as well as the CIty itself that oversees building and construction projects. Last month, before the holidays, they shut down Homefulness building process all together saying they "took too long" to build and assessed an "impact fee" which is supposedly to support low-income housing projects as well as told Homefulness we had to start all over again. 
Thanks to community pressure Homefulness was able to get a 30 day extension to the shut down, but in this crisis, the Homefulness project realized they have to speak out as these fees and and the process to build and try to work with conscious legislators to exempt poor and homeless people from these exorbitant fees and impossible requirements which make it impossible for homeless and poor people to manifest our own solutions and stay in our neighborhoods and communities.To date Homefulness has created sustainable and safe housing for 4 houseless families and disabled elders , a school for homeless children a sliding scale cafe for the community to eat healthy food and a poor and homeless people-run radio station.
"Affordable housing is not affordable, section eight vouchurs are useless and when poor people build our own homes we get hit by thousand dollars permits over and over to come to the realization that the system want to keep us chasing our tails while city government continues to red tape our hands behind our back thus turning us back to the streets as they continue to play footies with million developers who are giving a green light to build multi million dollar luxury condos with no low income buy in., said Leroy Moore, formerly homeless, disabled co-founder of Homefulness and POOR Magazine
"When the City Swept our encampment they claimed our curbside homes weren't "up to code" which is how the City rationalized demolishing them."said Alfred Estrada, currently houseless after multiple sweeps and demolitions of encampments he was staying in. 

"Us poor and homeless people in the US are in states of emergency- between the demolitions of thousands of units of public housing,the extreme rise in gentrification and evictions of low-income and working class elders and families and the concurrent rise in the criminalization of unhoused encampments and our bodies, which is why it is so urgent for people to listen to our own actual solutions to poverty and homelessness- solutions like Poverty Scholarship and the Homefulness Project, said Lisa Gray-Garcia, formerly  homeless single parent, author of Poverty Scholarship - Poor People-led Theory Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth and Criminal of Poverty - Growing Up Homeless in America
After the press conference POOR Magazine/Homefulness community of homeless and formerly homeless youth, adults and elders will meet with the aides to council person Nikki fortunato Bass and Rebecca Kaplan who works on homeless issues to launch this legislative effort 


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