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Oakland Struggles To Clean Up Homeless Camp By Home Depot

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The city of Oakland is taking steps toward cleaning up the homeless encampment surrounding the Home Depot in Oakland's Fruitvale district, but you might not notice the improvements when you drive by the hardware store.

An ordinance that passed Wednesday night closes down 37th Avenue behind the Home Depot, currently one man in an RV is back there. 37th Avenue is city property so city leaders are able to close the street as long as they give the RV dweller proper notice, he's being asked to leave by July 23rd.

Meanwhile nearly 100 people are camping on Alameda Avenue in front of the store, they will be allowed to stay until the city can offer them an alternative location.

"Right now the city's response is well we have to find another location and we're stuck at that," City Council Member Noel Gallo said.

Gallo has been pushing to have the encampments cleared for months, he says neighbors have been complaining for years. Gallo is worried Home Depot might leave if the problem isn't resolved.

"It's the number of jobs we may lose and also the investment on the city end they pay 7-8 million dollars every year on taxes," Gallo said.

"Don't get me wrong I get it's an eye sore but if we don't have continuous garbage pickup you can't expect it to be clean," Homeless resident Kay said.

Kay has lived in the encampment for two years, she says she knows the city will ask her to leave soon and she's okay with that as long as she has ample warning, but she warns, "even if you move everybody from here its another location we'll be at, and then we'll do it again and again and again, that's not a solution."

City Leaders including Noel Gallo will meet with Home Depot Monday to update executives on the city's progress.

The encampment on Alameda Avenue is on private property that Gallo says recently sold to the fast food chain Carl's Junior. Carl's Junior is expected to begin work here in April so Gallo says the larger encampment will have to be cleared by that time.

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