Encampment clearing does not end houselessness

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On May 2, 2022, you reported on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to clear out houseless encampments beside Interstate 80 near Berkeley without having to provide alternate housing, in the article titled “Caltrans permitted by appears court to clear encampments near Berkeley.” This is timely given the severity of houselessness in the state of California, especially during a COVID-19 pandemic.

As a graduating senior studying Public Health at UC Berkeley, I strongly oppose any form of clearing out encampment sites without providing proper alternative housing solutions for displaced residents. Housing is a human right. The city of Berkeley needs to recognize that encampments beside Interstate 80 often occurred as a result of the city’s lack of responsibility for providing housing alternatives, while trying to maintain a “safe” city look by pushing out the unhoused population – leaving them no where else to go.

I am concerned and would like more action from the city of Berkeley to take responsibility for the displacement of unhoused individuals. Rather than avoiding the issue of houselessness, the city should use their state funds to provide proper housing alternatives for any displaced residents, while also giving them the freedom and space to community parks and shelters.

Chelsea Lin graduated from UC Berkeley as part of the class of 2022. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.