No Easy Answers When It Comes to Solving Homeless Crisis
We have seen a growth in encampments throughout Berkeley and the Bay Area, including the HERE/THERE camp, located on BART property at Adeline Street. The sad reality is that with the lack of affordable housing, there just isn't enough shelter for everyone who needs it. That is why my administration has been working tirelessly on these issues and early next year will open the Bridge Living Community at Second and Cedar, which will provide additional long-term shelter, with supportive services.
Over the last 30 years, 80 percent of government funding for homeless and mental health services has been cut, resulting in a vast increase in the homeless population. As a city, we simply don’t have the resources to build shelter space for everyone who needs it. People will continue to live on our streets, because they simply have nowhere to go.
For most of the year, it has been my position that the encampment at HERE/THERE should be allowed to remain. For most of its existence, it has been a well-run intentional community, supported by local residents and businesses. That's why I urged BART, that if it enforces, it should focus its efforts on the encampment on the eastern side of the BART tracks at 63rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, where there have been numerous health and safety problems, including assaults and a recent death.
Ultimately BART made the decision to close both camps. They have asked that Berkeley police be present to provide backup, to ensure the safety of campers and police. And while these two encampments will ultimately be moved, we remain committed to expanding access to shelter, services and housing for the homeless.