A homeless encampment near a Home Depot in Oakland on July 23, 2019.

Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio

Oakland's Homeless Population Increases Nearly 50%

City Struggling To House The Unsheltered

Matt Bigler
July 23, 2019 - 9:45 am

OAKLAND - Oakland's homeless population has jumped nearly 50% in just the past two years, according to the latest survey by Alameda County. 

The point-in-time survey, which was released this week, showed that Oakland held nearly half of the county's transient population. The city also now has a per capita homeless rate that surpasses San Francisco and Berkeley. 

In 2017, Oakland had approximately 2,700 homeless residents. Now the unsheltered population is 4,071, a 47% increase. 

Indications of that population growth are seen all over the city as encampments sprout. 

"I think there are obviously some socio-economic issues that are probably happening and those two worlds have collided here in this parking lot," said an employee of a Home Depot on High Street near a large settlement of people living in tents and RVs. 

All this comes despite the city's efforts to add more sleeping cabins, and a safe parking lot for RV's. Mayor Libby Schaaf expressed disappointment over the homeless numbers, recently telling KPIX 5 that sanctioned encampments are not the answer.

"All of them have ended in fires, in really dangerous unhealthy conditions that I believe are not healthy for the unsheltered residents let alone the surrounding community,' said Schaaf.