daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • DECEMBER 03, 2022

Take a look at our 2022 midterm elections special issue!

Call it what it is: Forced removal at People’s Park

article image

CYNTHIA SHI | FILE

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

JUNE 16, 2022

UC Berkeley is still carrying forward with plans of developing on People’s Park despite a lack of support from the general public, along with People’s Park’s addition to the national register of historical places. 

While campus claims to offer current residents of People’s Park alternative housing options such as rooms at the Rodeway Inn and another apartment complex, this is, at best, simply respite. The supposed choices given to the people living there now are choiceless, considering they are being forced to either relocate to the aforementioned temporary housing or resort to the streets. 

Regardless of what campus claims, this move-or-be-moved attitude is a forced removal of the park’s residents. The school must take accountability for its actions and work to guarantee the residents it is removing from the park are protected and have longer-term housing solutions.

Currently, UC Berkeley has been substituting forced removal with “relocation” because of its plans to shift houseless residents to temporary supportive housing. However, there are multiple issues that come with this relocation that the school has failed to address.

To begin, Rodeway Inn has reportedly failed to provide adequate food and safety measures for its residents. In late 2021, for example, a man staying at the location was found dead on the street after being unable to get back in past curfew.  

Furthermore, UC Berkeley has only leased the property to house relocated individuals for 18 months. All future plans remain unclear. This is in no way a long-term solution, and people will undoubtedly be forced back into the streets once the term expires. This “solution” is merely something set up by campus in an attempt to maintain its image of supporting houselessness, when, in reality, it is perpetuating the current houseless crisis. 

After everything campus has already put park residents through, along with the reported disregard it continues to have for basic needs, it is ridiculous that this perfunctory attempt at relocation is supposedly the best it can do — especially with funding from the state. 

Students and residents alike have spoken time and time again — voting against development on People’s Park in multiple polls; protesting to keep the site intact; bringing awareness to the current issues — and the school has continued to develop where it pleases. If campus truly hopes to pay homage to the historical site of People’s Park and offer its current residents true solutions, campus officials must improve the supportive housing options and guarantee an appropriate allocation of resources to all the residents. 

Clarifications: In a previous version of this article, it may have been implied that Rodeway Inn is the only alternative housing option that was offered to the residents of People's Park. In fact, besides the Rodeway Inn, there are other options being offered to the residents as well In a previous version of this article, it may have been implied that UC Berkeley is solely taking the responsibility for rehousing current residents of People's Park. In fact, the city of Berkeley is taking the lead on these efforts.
Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that UC Berkeley students voted against the development of housing on People’s Park. In fact, according to the most recent Qualtrics survey conducted by campus, a random sample survey reported that 70% of students actually support construction of housing on the site.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the summer 2022 opinion editor, Manya Zhao.
LAST UPDATED

JULY 13, 2022


Related Articles

featured article
Whether you want a cool backdrop to showcase your fall outfit or simply want a pile of leaves to take photos in, this list of locations has got your back.
Whether you want a cool backdrop to showcase your fall outfit or simply want a pile of leaves to take photos in, this list of locations has got your back.
featured article
featured article
featured article
featured article
Dust off your boots and pull out your best sweater because spooky season has arrived. Take this quiz to find the perfect movie to kick off spooky season!
Dust off your boots and pull out your best sweater because spooky season has arrived. Take this quiz to find the perfect movie to kick off spooky season!
featured article