On Wednesday, protesters flooded Folks’s Park in Berkeley, California, chanting, “Housing is a human proper, battle, battle, battle!” The explanation the group was protesting? The College of California, Berkeley, was set to start building on a pupil housing mission, which might not solely home 1,100 Berkeley college students at below-market charges, but in addition present backed residences for 125 homeless individuals. And the protesters need to cease this mission.
In keeping with the Related Press, protesters threw rocks, bottles, and glass at building staff. In addition they eliminated a number of sections of the chain-link fence surrounding the park. On Wednesday, the college introduced that it will pause building of the park, citing protester violence.
“All building personnel had been withdrawn out of concern for his or her security,” Dan Mogulof, UC’s assistant vice chancellor, stated in a assertion to NBC Information. “The campus will, within the days forward, assess the scenario with a view to decide how finest to proceed with building of this urgently wanted pupil housing mission.”
The College has tried since 2017 to assemble extra pupil housing in a metropolis the place rents are sometimes so excessive and pupil housing provide so low that some college students have resorted to sleeping of their automobiles. The development mission would supply much-needed inexpensive housing to many college students. Nevertheless, the mission has confronted appreciable pushback, together with lawsuits to stop the development. In typical NIMBY style, the lawsuits declare that the College didn’t contemplate sufficient different constructing websites. In keeping with The Actual Deal, a San Francisco actual property information web site, the College thought of over a dozen.
“Ever since we introduced plans for the Folks’s Park mission in 2018, I’ve been satisfied that we have now a possibility for a win-win-win benefitting our college students, unhoused individuals in our neighborhood, and our neighbors throughout town,” stated UC Chancellor Carol Crist in a 2021 e-mail obtained by The Every day Californian.
The primary supply of controversy is the housing web site’s location, Folks’s Park, a university-owned plot of land with a historical past as an activist web site. Most famously, the park was the location of “Bloody Thursday,” a 1969 pupil protest-turned-riot that left 50 injured and one lifeless after police fired buck and chicken shot into the group. Protesters thus view the park as a vital historic web site, and although over half of the park will stay intact as a inexperienced area, lots of them imagine it shouldn’t be modified. The park can be the “house” of dozens of homeless individuals.
“Since its founding in 1969, Folks’s Park has been house to numerous houseless people in Berkeley,” wrote The Every day Californian editorial board on Thursday. “It has served because the prime location for political occasions, performances and recreation, amongst numerous different affairs. From these, a neighborhood bloomed, and it has shortly turn out to be a cultural and historic landmark.”
Sarcastically, this oft-criticized constructing mission would create housing for homeless individuals, not destroy it. In keeping with the A.P., in the course of the length of building, the almost 50 homeless individuals residing within the park had been provided shelter (which nearly all of them accepted) at a motel paid for by UC. When the mission is full, it would embrace 125 residences for homeless people.
People who oppose the housing mission voice a uniquely Californian sort of NIMBYism when discussing homelessness. Certain, the mission would supply much-needed housing for the homeless, however it will additionally displace the small variety of homeless individuals who like sleeping in an open-air tent encampment with no operating water. Apparently, we must always prize the pursuits of some—within the case of Folks’s Park, the 2 or three people who refused shelter out of almost 50—over the certainly plentiful variety of homeless who desperately need shelter and privateness.
“I feel that it is actually unjust what the college is doing attempting to construct housing right here however at the price of transferring out all of those residents,” UC pupil Sarah Hager instructed native information station KTVU. “You are inflicting vital quantities of hurt by transferring residents who’ve lived right here perpetually and are completely built-in into the neighborhood.”
If building on Folks’s Park is completely stopped, cash-strapped college students and homeless individuals would be the ones to undergo. Stopping the development of recent housing in a metropolis with one of many worst housing shortages in America—below-market-rate housing geared toward college students and the homeless no much less—appears deeply at odds with the declare that “housing is a human proper.”