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Oakland officials consider housing up to 1,000 homeless people on a cruise ship

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan (pictured) wants to explore the possibility of using a cruise ship to house up to 1,000 homeless people

A San Francisco Bay Area city official wants to explore the possibility of using a cruise ship to house up to 1,000 homeless people as the state continues to struggle with the homelessness crisis.

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan told a council meeting on Tuesday that the ship would be brought to the Port of Oakland, but port officials said Wednesday the move would be ‘untenable’.

‘We respect President Kaplan’s desire to address homelessness but Port of Oakland docks are designed to work cargo ships, there isn’t the infrastructure to berth a cruise ship,’ port spokesman Mike Zampa said.

The port is among the 10 busiest in the nation and safety and security issues in the federally regulated facilities ‘would make residential uses untenable,’ Zampa said.

Kaplan said she has been contacted by cruise ship companies about providing a ship for emergency housing, and that the companies were reaching out to the Port of Oakland about what options exist to park a ship at the port, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

She didn’t provide further details on those companies and she didn’t immediately return a request for comment. 

Kaplan said she plans to present a proposal to the council in January that will be ‘no or low’ cost to the city because residents of the cruise ship would pay for rooms based on their income. The city would not buy the cruise ship.

Kaplan told a council meeting on Tuesday that the ship would be brought to the Port of Oakland (file image), but port officials said Wednesday the move would be 'untenable'

Kaplan told a council meeting on Tuesday that the ship would be brought to the Port of Oakland (file image), but port officials said Wednesday the move would be ‘untenable’ 

'We respect President Kaplan's desire to address homelessness but Port of Oakland (file image) docks are designed to work cargo ships, there isn't the infrastructure to berth a cruise ship,' port spokesman Mike Zampa said

‘We respect President Kaplan’s desire to address homelessness but Port of Oakland (file image) docks are designed to work cargo ships, there isn’t the infrastructure to berth a cruise ship,’ port spokesman Mike Zampa said

Homelessness has spiked in Oakland in the past two years with the number of unsheltered people increasing from 1,900 to more than 3,000.

‘It could be a great way to house a lot of people quickly,’ Kaplan told The Chronicle. 

‘Cruise ships have been used for emergency housing after natural disasters and for extra housing for things like Olympics.’

Kaplan compared her vision for an Oakland cruise ship to something like the Queen Mary in Long Beach in Southern California. 

The 1936 ocean liner is now a floating hotel with 347 rooms. A room with two twin beds rents for $141 a night and $146 a night for a full-size bed.

‘It could be like that,’ Kaplan said. ‘But as affordable housing instead of hotel.’

Elaine de Coligny, executive director of the homeless advocacy group EveryOne Home in Alameda County, said she appreciated Kaplan’s creativity and desire to find permanent housing for homeless people. 

But de Coligny said it would be pricey to convert a cruise ship into long-term living space. 

Before embarking on plans to do so, officials should talk to homeless people about whether they would even want to live on a cruise ship, she said.

‘I think we’re all feeling desperate about the desperation that we’re seeing of people who are living outdoors,’ de Coligny said. ‘I appreciate the creativity, but I have lots of questions.’

Meanwhile in Lancaster, officials proposed placing a ban on feeding the homeless in public places. 

Meanwhile in Lancaster, officials proposed placing a ban on feeding the homeless in public places. If the measure passes, publicly handing out food to the homeless (file image, Lancaster) in Lancaster would be met with a fine

Meanwhile in Lancaster, officials proposed placing a ban on feeding the homeless in public places. If the measure passes, publicly handing out food to the homeless (file image, Lancaster) in Lancaster would be met with a fine

During the meeting, homeless advocates said that the fines would decrease the amount of volunteers who help feed the homeless (file image, Lancaster)

During the meeting, homeless advocates said that the fines would decrease the amount of volunteers who help feed the homeless (file image, Lancaster)

The controversial measure was proposed during a city council meeting on Tuesday night as Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris defended the proposed legislation. 

‘A lot of people would come to eat, the people feeding them would leave and the mess would be left behind,’ Parris said during the meeting, according to Fox News. 

‘We’re talking about people defecating in the entryways of the business. It became a public health problem,’ the mayor added. 

If the measure passes, handing out food to the homeless in Lancaster along public streets, sidewalks and any other city-owned property, would be met with a fine.

During the meeting, homeless advocates said that the fines would decrease the amount of volunteers who help feed the homeless, according to Fox News. 

‘Don’t penalize my people for going to feed people because we don’t follow your organization or rules,’ one advocate said.

City officials have now set up a committee to work with nonprofits to study the homelessness issue in the area. 

Several California cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, are struggling to grapple with the homelessness crisis across the state.  

Some cities, have gone to extreme measures to keep the homeless off of their property. For example, in September a group of residents placed nearly two dozen boulders (pictured) along a sidewalk to keep people from camping outside their homes

Some cities, have gone to extreme measures to keep the homeless off of their property. For example, in September a group of residents placed nearly two dozen boulders (pictured) along a sidewalk to keep people from camping outside their homes

Just last week, business owners placed large logs (pictured) along a commercial street in Oakland to stop homeless encampments being set up outside their stores

Just last week, business owners placed large logs (pictured) along a commercial street in Oakland to stop homeless encampments being set up outside their stores

The logs - some of which measure ten feet in length - appeared December 2 on West Oakland's Poplar Street (file image) - a popular place for the homeless to park their RVs and dilapidated vehicles

The logs – some of which measure ten feet in length – appeared December 2 on West Oakland’s Poplar Street (file image) – a popular place for the homeless to park their RVs and dilapidated vehicles

Some cities, much like Lancaster, have even gone to extreme measures to keep the homeless off of their property. 

For example, in September San Francisco’s homeless crisis prompted a group of residents to place nearly two dozen boulders along a sidewalk to keep people from camping outside their homes.

The boulder barrier sat along a half-block stretch of sidewalk on Clinton Park in the Mission Dolores neighborhood. 

A week later, the city removed the boulder barrier over safety concerns. 

Just last week, business owners placed large logs along a commercial street in Oakland to stop homeless encampments being set up outside their stores.

The logs – some of which measure ten feet in length – appeared December 2 on West Oakland’s Poplar Street – a popular place for the homeless to park their RVs and dilapidated vehicles.

That move came as the number of homeless residents in Oakland has soared nearly 50 per cent in the past two years alone. 

That number represents the increase of unsheltered people, which went from 1,902 to 3,210 people. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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