Oakland Community Cabins – Lake Merritt

Oakland Community Cabins – Lake Merritt
August 5, 2020 Charly Ligety

Lake Merritt

Oakland Community Cabin Program


Opened on October 4th, 2018 in the former Kaiser Auditorium Parking Lot across from Lake Merritt, the 20-cabin/40-bed transitional shelter project is designed to help alleviate and eliminate camping at Lake Merritt.


  • Launched in late 2017, Oakland’s Cabin Community projects are designed as temporary transitional shelters to help stabilize the homeless and assist in the finding of permanent housing.
  • The City of Oakland and private donors/volunteers have set up Tuff Shed Temporary Shelter Units at six locations (listed below).

Mission: Provide an alternative to encampments to help move people off the streets, through bridge housing facilities, and into long-term housing.


Owner: Land owned by the City of Oakland, across two parcels.

Previous Use: Former Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center parking lot.

Use Arrangement: ___

Site Selection Criteria Considerations:

  • The site is adjacent to the City’s Peralta Park, which is the site of many homeless encampments.

Site Selection Notes


  • Site selection process:
  • Site notes:
    • When the Lake Merritt camp opened, city officials say they plan to phase in the no encampment zone around the lake starting first with the large camp that existed at Peralta Park next to the old Kaiser Center.
    • Some people choose to participate in the Tuff Shed program. Those who don’t are ordered to leave camps nearby.



Upfront Development* $8.6 million $5.6 million from ___
Cost Per Bed* $__k 40 beds in total
Operating Costs* $__ million/year Funding from CA State (via HEAP in 2019 and 2020; HHAP in 2021), funds go to___ City and County, which is disbursed and managed by ___ (CoC) -(source):

Other notes ____

Cost Per Bed* $22k/year $60/bed/night (blended adults + youth)


Funding Notes


  • $__ million from
  • ____The City pays for the Furniture, Fixtures and Other Equipment (FF&E) required to provide services at the facility
  • City Council adopted the two-year budget for fiscal years 2019-2021 which includes $32 million in funding for homeless services that will allow the City to expand existing homeless programs such as Community Cabins and safe parking; enhance the health, sanitation, and safety of unsheltered residents; and provide employment training and opportunities to hire unsheltered people to assist with litter removal at encampments. The funding will also support rapid-rehousing, services, and interventions for homeless residents, including a mobile homeless outreach team, and create a $2.7 million fund for anti-displacement services and housing security improvements. In addition to this budget allocation, Oakland’s partnership with the San Francisco Foundation—Keep Oakland Housed—augments the City’s budget with $8 million in rapid anti-displacement assistance.

Additional Funding Notes

  • HHAP – This year, as part of the State’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 Budget, the State set aside $650 million in one-time funding for the construction and expansion of emergency shelters and
    navigation centers, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, job programs, and for innovative projects like hotel/motel conversions. The Homeless Housing, Assistance, and
    Prevention Program (HHAPP) will make available $275 million to large cities, with a significant portion going to Los Angeles.
  • HEAP – Prior state funds for emergency shelters were provided by the 2018-enacted HEAP funding allocations (link).


Lead Deal Coordinator City of Oakland
Community Engagement


City of Oakland
Construction Management ____ The Bureau of Engineering (BOE) is providing project design and management oversight of the City’s GSD Construction Forces to complete the project
Shelter Vendor / Manufacturer


California Sheds
On-Site Assembly  ____General Services Department (overseen by BOE)


Design Notes


  • The design includes 20 cabins (40-capacity), a manager’s unit, 3 storage containers, and one bathroom module
  • Utilities: ____Central bathroom unit connected to municipal water, sewer, power


  • ___ feasibility study includes the initial design and site plan
  • Kickoff design meeting includes service provider of programmatic feedback
  • Council office can customize color scheme and vendor provider


Lead Operator:

Operator ___


Agreement ___

3-year lease between Metro (site owner) and LA City, subleased (zero cost) to PATH to operate the facility, to begin upon c/o issuance. PATH is pursuant to a service contract with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA)’s ‘A Bridge Home
Projects’ Scope of Required Services, Facility Standards and Program Standards

  • ___day-shift workers
  • Shelter Manager
  • Program Supervisor
  • Logistic Coordinators
  • Case Managers
  • Security
  • Janitorial
  • Back-end Admin
Services Provided ___ provides wraparound services, which include intensive case management, linkages to medical and mental health support, groups and classes for self- awareness. In addition, we focus on housing navigation and employment assistance such as resume building, interview preparation. These services are designed to help people move into – and stay – in permanent housing.
  • ~$60/bed/night operating costs
Operating Expenses
  • On-Site Personnel
  • Maintenance
  • Client Services, meals


Operation Notes


  • ___ is a nonprofit that has done work with the City in the past
  • Local preference policy at shelters

Relevant Materials

Additional Oakland Community Program Sites


Opened May 2018.

Occupancy: 20 cabins

Site Owner: __

Site Use Arrangement: ___

Funding Source: Kaiser Foundation

Operator: ___



6th Street & Castro (Closed)

One-year pilot; closed in Dec. 2018.

Occupancy: 20 cabins

Site Owner: Caltrans

Site Use Arrangement: Subleased to the City from BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit, the rapid transit public transportation system serving the San Francisco Bay Area in California).

Funding Source: ___

Operator: ___


Miller Community Cabins

Opened January 2019.

Occupancy: 20 cabins

Site Owner: __

Site Use Arrangement: ___

Funding Source: ___

Operator: ___



Occupancy: 40 cabins, 76 people

Site Owner: Caltrans

  • The Mandela location was chosen in response to the persistent public health and safety hazards at two large, nearby encampments along the Oakland/Emeryville border: 1) 35th & Magnolia and 2) Hollis & West MacArthur. Outreach teams have conducted a thorough census of the homeless population at these sites and there is space at the Mandela site to accommodate everyone from these encampments. Residents of these encampments will be offered space at the Mandela Community Cabins, and then the encampments will be closed.

Site Use Arrangement: Caltrans has made the site available to the City for a $1 per month lease. AB 3139 (Bonta) allows Caltrans to lease State highway property for emergency shelter to the City of Oakland for up to ten parcels for $1 per month. This is consistent with Governor Newsom’s directive that public lands be made available to address the homelessness crisis.

Funding Source:

  • The cities of Oakland and Emeryville have combined resources to address the encampments that straddle the border between the cities
  • This double-sized site will cost $1.7 million per year to operate ($850,000 per section). Funds to operate each site come from the California State Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).
  • Target, Sutter Health, and the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce—have provided funding for the site, and the Home Depot Foundation has provided funding, building supplies, and dozens of associates from local Home Depot stores who volunteered their time and talents building ADA-accessible ramps and decks for the cabins.

Operator: ___


6th & Oak Street

Occupancy: 19 cabins/38 beds

Site Owner: Caltrans

Site Use Arrangement: Caltrans has leased the property to the City for $1 per month.

Funding Source: The site will cost $850,000 per year to operate; funds come from the California State Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).

Operator: Managed by Roots Community Health Center in partnership with Family Bridges, which will provide housing navigation services.

Press Release: https://www.oaklandca.gov/news/2020/from-sidewalks-to-services-7th-community-cabin-site-serves-chinatown-jack-london

Innovation Themes


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