Since March of 2015 a group of pedicab drivers, carpenters, gardeners and social workers have been quietly operating a space for those interested in experimenting in off-grid tiny house technology and horticulture.
We now call the space Neighborship and are in the process of forming a 501c3 nonprofit. Because of the blight laws that forbid the existence of trailers on private land we have framed the community as a Community Garden where members can park movable storage units. We hold a lease, pay taxes, are insured, have trash service, water service, internet service and take being a good neighbor damn serious! Some members also serve as security night watch persons (people sleep in trailers). For this we are considered "illegal." Acknowledging this strange legal fiction, we have kept a low profile all these years. But our survival now depends on being proud and public.
Oakland is not alone in putting up paywalls to housing. Trailers are not allowed in most cities, despite serving as a highly practical and affordable way to house oneself. The blight laws come from an ugly history and belief that poverty is a contagion. The "trailer trash" troupe lives in our psyches despite the reality that they have historically served as affordable housing and a community model since inception. These Zoned-out laws block normal self-reliant individuals from producing their own housing. We assumed these outdated ordinances were too crazy to actually be enforced. We were wrong. During a pandemic, Oakland code enforcement is asking 6 individuals to go to the streets?
If we do not comply with this unreasonable demand we will face escalating fines, property lien, and a warrant.
Is it really such a crime for a group of low-wage workers to use solar panels, tiny homes on wheels and porto potties to house themselves in ways the future may soon require of all of us? It's time to make the practical act of safely setting up Trailers and RVs on private land to create affordable housing legal. It's 2021. Please help bring sanity to our system. If you live near us, have ever visited us or are fighting your own battles to house yourselves and your family and friends, then please SIGN THIS PETITION.