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Urban Camp proposes to install home systems to end unsheltered homelessness in Oakland.  Urban Camp Homes are installed in human scale clusters of 10 units with sites ranging up to 500 units.  Sites are selected to be nearby existing homeless population, but buffered with natural boundaries from existing residential areas.

Urban Camp living units are the minimum sized unit to meet code with 70 SF of habitable space and includes sleeping area, kitchen, toilet, shower, and sink. Laundry facilities are provided in a common area per cluster of 10 units.  Modules are highly damage resistant and built for an open to the street urban environment.

The City of Oakland Point-in-Time Survey counted 3300 Unsheltered Homless with roughly half in tents or on the street, and half in cars or vans.

The graphic below shows locations of proposed Urban Camp developments.  Note that the total count includes dwelling units plus designs for some car / van accomodation.

Oakland Homeless
wood st

To give you some idea about how Urban camp might work in Oakland, we looked at the Wood Street Site and designed a layout.  The site is about 10 acres, and we could fit 344 units which would house about 500 people. 

The Oakland Unsheltered Homeless includes many people living in cars and RVs.  We included some spacing in the layout to accommodate those people with power, toilet, shower, and laundry

Here is how we configured the Urban camp Homes at the site:

Wood St Layouts

Why Urban Camp Works

The unsheltered homeless, often in tent encampments, have been resistant to traditional solutions of shelters, transitional housing, and standard supportive housing.  The Urban Camp environment:

  1. Maintains the autonomy of the individual with expectation for self care, care of the living space, and care for neighbors.
  2. Avoids extreme relocation.  Sites are located nearby existing homeless populations, but buffered with natural boundaries from residential areas.
  3. Is located with pedestrian access to grocery and personal care shopping, and with access to medical care.
  4. Is a secure living space for protection of the individual and personal items.
  5. Allows for the inclusion of a companion or pet.
  6. Provides an address for the delivery of social services, medical services, and safety net benefits.

Urban Camp works for the Community by addressing what many people envision as the face of homelessness: people living on the street in tent camps.

  1. Urban Camp Sites are located within communities where significant homeless populations exist.  Distributed and limited size sites allow for a community solution.  However it is important that the Urban Camp sites are nearby but with natural boundaries (rail lines, highways, viaducts, rivers) from existing residential areas.
  2. Multi-Community solutions minimize the pushback with a shared responsibility.
  3. The availability of community homeless solutions allows for the removal of homeless tent encampments from unauthorized locations.