OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) -- Oakland city officials and activists have been taking steps to help victims of violent crime pay for vehicles towed for evidence, an advocacy group said.
City councilmembers approved a $100,000 fund for the 2021-22 fiscal year and Mayor Libby Schaaf has proposed doubling the fund in the next fiscal year.
The fund will be managed by Oakland police. A date has not been set for when funds will be available.
In the past, a three-day hospital stay for a gunshot wound may cost a victim $500 to recover their vehicle. It could be more if it takes time to earn or raise the money.
"It's hardship on top of hardship for victims of violence," said Jasmine Hardison, coordinator of Youth ALIVE!'s Khadafy Washington Project to support families of homicide victims in the immediate aftermath of a killing. "Without their cars, getting to work, school, everything becomes harder."
One Youth ALIVE! client discovered a bill of over $1,000 to retrieve his car following his discharge from the hospital. He was unable to afford the bill and gave up the car.
Having access to a vehicle can also make a difference when trying to get medical care and buy groceries.
The $500 cost of recovering a vehicle can be alarming considering a recent Federal Reserve study that showed most Americans cannot cover an unexpected expense of $400.
It's also a burden for the city of Oakland, which recoups only part of the cost of towing vehicles. Sometimes the city will waive the victim's fees.
Police said they are grateful for the work by Youth ALIVE!
"We thank community organizations like Youth ALIVE!, that worked with the victims, community, and the leaders of our city to ensure incurred tow/storage fees were not an additional trauma to the victims or witnesses," said Capt. David Elzey of the Oakland Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division.
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