Councilmember Taplin Statement on Where Do We Go v. Caltrans Ruling

September 27, 2021

“I am disappointed by District Court Judge Edward Chen’s decision to keep people living at the Ashby Shellmound encampment. A freeway exit is not a stable, secure, or sustainable location for anyone, let alone vulnerable and marginalized individuals. The City of Berkeley, Alameda County, and our community partners at Dorothy Day House and Rebuilding Together have worked tirelessly and invested considerable resources to both acquire hotels through Project Homekey and stand up a transitional housing program at Horizon Transitional Village on Grayson Street. These programs far exceed anything we’ve been able to offer in the past.

The status quo is not safe for anyone. I truly believe that housing is a human right; and I also believe that encampments at freeway offramps with significant risks of fatal traffic collisions, fire, and vector diseases are not an adequate housing solution.

We remain committed to providing stable, healthy, sanitary solutions to get people out of chronic homelessness and will continue working with Caltrans to ensure health and safety. We will continue following the best practices laid out in the Berkeley City Manager’s 1000 Person Plan, and we will ensure that everyone in our community has access to public spaces.”