The Healthlessness Of Homelessness
 How The Health Crisis In Oakland's Homeless Camps Affects All Of Us, And What We Can Do
July 25, 2017


Oakland's Black Arts And Business District Left Off State Pilot Project List
 Where Will The Official BAMBD's Funding Come From Now?
July 16, 2017


And About Those Hidden Community Benefits From Carmel Partners
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A Darktown/Chinatown Brawl? A Councilmember Responds
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Is There A Darktown/Chinatown Brawl In The Making In Oakland?
 Confusion In The Drafting Of The Boundaries For Oakland's Proposed New Downtown Black Cultural And Business District Could Cause A Turf Battle Between Two Of The City's Most Important Ethnic/Racial Communities
May 26, 2017


The Laney College Athletics?
  Oakland's Professional Baseball Team Is Looking At Building A Stadium On The Grounds Of One Of The City's College Campuses
May 17, 2017


The Beautiful Babies Of Khan Sheikhoun
  Donald Trump's Choices In The Wake Of Syria's Poison Gas Attack
April 11, 2017


Breaking The Stalemate Over The Oakland Black Arts District
  Narrowing it down to the two major errors that caused the problem
February 10, 2017


A Tale Of Two Visions: Oakland's Downtown Black Business And Arts District
  How a single initiative to create the district became competing proposals at odds with each other
January 26, 2017


Imagine A Special District In Downtown Oakland Highlighting Black Arts, Business, And Entertainment
  A step towards uplifting Oakland's African-American population and rising all of Oakland's boats in the process
January 12, 2017


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J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

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The Healthlessness Of Homelessness

July 25, 2017

The good news is that Oakland appears to have finally turned our attention to the crisis of homelessness in the city.

The bad news is that the impetus for much of this new urgency to “do something” about “the problem” is an odd coalition of those who want to help the homeless and those who want to get rid of them, coalescing around a growing concern to eliminate those homeless camps and tent cities along our streets in our vacant fields and lots and frontage roads, either to eventually get their residents into shelters, first, and then permanent housing, or else to “get these devils hence,” to borrow from Cousin Matthew, either out of the city or just out of our sight.

But the fact is, even though the homeless camps and tent cities have only recently entered the consciousness of most Oakland residents, they are the product of complex social forces that have been building for decades, and continue to build and press against our social fabric. To try to get rid of these camps and tent cities is like trying to mop the water off the bathroom floor without turning off the faucet that caused the bathtub to overflow in the first place. You can mop all you want, the water will continue to flow until the tap is turned shut.

Unfortunately, the tap of social forces that created and continues to create more homeless in Oakland cannot be fixed by some simple twist of hand and metal. Absent a cataclysmic intervention by some major outside forces—such as the world war that put America to work and pulled its economy out of the Depression of the 1930’s—“ending” the forces that created Oakland’s current homeless crisis is going to take some thought, some careful planning, and more than a few decades of hard work that will certainly go past the lifetimes of many of the people reading this piece. [To Complete Column]