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Gov. Brown Signs Bill Allowing Oakland To Lease Caltrans Land For Homeless Centers

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf thanked Gov. Jerry Brown Friday for signing a bill that allows her city to lease public land for future homeless centers.

Schaaf said Assembly Bill 3139, which she sponsored and was authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, allows Oakland to lease up to 10 unused Caltrans parcels for $1 per month.

She said the parcels give Oakland new options to pursue outdoor emergency shelters.

"Finding vacant parcels to set up emergency outdoor shelters, such as Oakland's Tuff Shed cabin communities, has proven to be a time-consuming and expensive obstacle in our community's response to the homeless crisis," Schaaf said in a statement.

"Housing is a basic human need and a basic human right. Too many Californians are suffering without shelter," Bonta said, "This legislation is a great example of state and local leaders working together to devise a creative solution in one city for one of our most pressing problems."

There currently are an estimated 2,500 unsheltered people in Oakland, according to Bonta.

Schaaf said the three outdoor sites that Oakland has set up for the homeless are a compassionate and temporary intervention strategy designed to help people get onto a path to housing.

She said the long-term solution to homelessness is more permanent affordable housing and adequate care for residents.

Bonta said if AB 3139 hadn't been approved and signed the cost to lease the Caltrans parcels in Oakland would have been full market rate, which he said would have been cost-prohibitive and resulted in the land remaining vacant, blighted and a nuisance.

He said once the parcels are leased, the city of Oakland can provide aid in the form of temporary housing and/or food distribution.

"AB 3139 will provide another tool in the toolbox to help the city of Oakland address the growing homeless crisis," said Bonta. "By leasing these parcels of land for emergency shelters or food service programs, we can tangibly help the many people in our community who need vital assistance."

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