Our organization is already formally opposed to sweeps of encampments. This letter is specifically about the RV situation in Berkeley
East Bay for Everyone’s membership has voted overwhelmingly to support the RV residents in Berkeley, who have recently been prohibited from sleeping in the city during night hours, temporarily. On March 26th, during the same City Council meeting as the ‘Missing Middle’ proposal, the council will also re-visit the ban and consider potentially further penalizing action. East Bay for Everyone has many members in these neighborhoods with the RVs, and firmly opposes any action that results in the prohibition of RV residents, particularly during night hours, depriving those Berkeley residents of sleep. The RV dwellers are diverse in age and financial status. Their inability to afford a home in Berkeley makes them no less a Berkeley resident.
The RV issue in Berkeley has been complicated by series of factors that need to be addressed, beyond the larger issue of a shortage of housing. The RVs were evicted from the Marina by the city, after the City of Berkeley was threatened with fines by the state to vacate the vacant HS Lordships parking lot by the State Lands Commission. We encourage everyone reading this letter to contact State Senator Nancy Skinner (510) 286-1333, and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (510) 286-1400, to reform this rule that “Waterfront activities” may also include sanctioned residency with the city’s permission. Specifically in regards to the evicted RVs from Berkeley Marina. Any action by our state reps must be taken to prohibit this eviction again, as the Marina in Berkeley with its plentiful parking lots was an ideal place for the RVs to settle as they did.
The RVs numbering 200 are now located throughout the streets of Berkeley, predominantly in West Berkeley. As uncomfortable as some housed residents and businesses may find their presence, there is no humane solution in calling for their eviction. We need community-based conversations with housed, mobile housed, and unhoused alike about establishing friendly co-existence.
We ask that the city convene a forum with the RV residents and residents with RVs on their block, to discuss what each party needs to manage sanitation and trash issues. Establishing needs for portable toilets, trash cans, rules about dumping, establishing an official city residency for RVs ect.
We ask that the council begin seeking out surplus spaces on city-owned parcels to house as many RVs as is feasible, particularly during night hours.
We ask that the council reach out to faith-based orgs, residencies and businesses with available land to house RVs. We know this may come at a cost, but we ask it be explored as a possible mitigation
We ask that the council reaches out to BART regarding their empty parking spaces at locations like North Berkeley BART during night hours. Similarly reach out to the University of California and their surplus lands, as some of the RV residents are also UC students.
We ask that the city formally asks our state representatives and government bodies to reform State Lands rules to allow the RV residents to return back to the Marina’s parking lot.
We also demand to city governments across the Bay Area, that they end their anti-poor and classist attitudes, and open up their surplus lands to the RV residents.
We understand there are difficulties in implementation and feasibility ahead, but when it comes to livelihoods of Berkeleyans in RVs, we implore they are at least explored. Some enrolled Berkeley Unified children call these RVs their home. Prohibition of RVs in Berkeley is not a solution.
The high cluster of RVs in a town like Berkeley is no coincidence when examining the behavior of neighboring Albany, who paid their homeless residents to leave. Some RV residents have noted that unlike neighboring cities, Berkeley has not harassed them out, yet. We think it should be the rule, not the exception region-wide. Particularly in North Bay and suburban East Bay cities with ample space for RVs and currently no courage to allow them.
Lastly, we call on the City Council to reach out formally to neighboring cities: Albany, Emeryville, and Oakland, to designate spots for RVs.
Until it is done, the most important issue is convening the RV residents and the non-RV housed, to determine what sanitation and space needs could be established, that results in the staying put of our RV residents in Berkeley
East Bay for Everyone would much rather see our city’s streets be used for housing rather than parking
Please come to the March 26th Berkeley City Council meeting at 6:00 PM, located at 1231 Addison St, accessible by the frequent 51B bus line from Downtown, and several blocks from North Berkeley BART.
At the City Council meeting, speak in support of the Missing Middle study to legalize quadplexes city-wide, and remain to speak again in opposition to any prohibition or removal of the RV residents from Berkeley.