Homeless Residents Build Intentional Community in Berkeley

By David Bacon

The camp outside the old Berkeley City Hall, called by the residents an occupation. It was a protest against the Berkeley City Council passing an anti-homeless ordinance.Michael Lee started living on the streets of San Francisco last May. He had traveled from Las Vegas to seek medical treatment. When he arrived, he searched for cheap, temporary housing in some of San Francisco’s most affordable neighborhoods, but he had seriously underestimated the cost of living in the nation’s most expensive city.

“I was under the impression the rent was $300 a month, and I brought the resources for 60 days,” he said in an interview. “I was going to go back to Las Vegas afterwards and go back to work. But the first place I walked into, they told me it was $300 a week. The next was $400 a week, and then $500. People were laughing at me—$300 a week is actually cheap on Skid Row. So I wound up living on the streets.”

Lee soon heard of a large encampment in Berkeley that homeless activists had set up to protest the US Postal Service’s (USPS) plan to sell Berkeley’s historic downtown post office building. So he moved across the bay and quickly became a leader of the Berkeley camp, advocating for a plan to transform the building into a community resource—“a homeless contact center run by homeless people.”

Related Stories: 

Efforts to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has stalled

Submitted by admin on Fri, 04/09/2010 - 12:18pm
by Lynda Carson --

Berkeley -- Due to a lack of public support, the plans to terminate Berkeley's public housing program have been put on hold, for a while.  

According to documents released by the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) on April 8, 2010, efforts to terminate Berkeley's public housing program has stalled as the BHA attempts to limit any more free speech activities (1st amendment rights) that would cause or contribute to any further unrest among Berkeley's public housing resident population.


BHA attempts to block residents from buying their long-time public housing units

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 12:24pm

Berkeley -- During April 2009, the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) hired EJP/Praxis consultants to develop a strategic plan to assess options for what to do with it's public housing units, including the option to continue with it's public housing program, or the option to dispose of it's 75 public housing units through the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) disposition process, or to seek other options to meet the goals of the BHA, according to a July 3, 2009 report titled "Berkeley Housing Authority LIPH/RHCP Strategic Plan," prepared by EJP Consulting Group LLC, for the BHA.

Berkeley Housing Authority’s shady operations

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 03/11/2010 - 4:21pm

Berkeley – According to documents recently released online by the Office of the City Manager in Berkeley, the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) may receive kickbacks from a local non-profit housing developer in a scheme to privatize, revitalize and sell off its public housing. The scheme involves a vice president of consultant ICF International.

Statements Stricken from AC Transit Challenger’s Ballot Statement

Submitted by Reporter on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 10:00pm

An Alameda County Superior Court Judge has taken the first vote in the 2008 local general election, ruling that certain portions of AC Transit At Large Board challenger Joyce Roy’s submitted ballot statement were either false or misleading, and ordering them removed.

Judge Frank Roesch’s ruling last week was in response to a lawsuit filed by Alameda County resident William Rowen. Rowen was represented by Oakland attorney David Stein, while Roy represented herself.


Subscribe to RSS - Berkeley