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Oaklanders build a complex complete with hot shower, kitchen, and CLINIC for homeless residents

Oakland residents sick of the housing crisis have built a complex below an underpass complete with a hot shower, fully stocked community kitchen, outdoor pizza oven and health clinic for around 300 homeless people living at nearby encampments to make use of.

Dubbed Cob on Wood, the small village center sprung up in recent months along Wood Street in West Oakland, beneath Interstate 880, transforming a patch of one of the city's biggest homeless encampments into a community area that residents can make their own.    

It was developed back in December by a group of local organizers who decided to take matters into their own hands to tackle the homelessness crisis and provide much-needed support for the city's homeless population, who were especially hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

Now, it serves anywhere between 150 and 300 homeless people in the area with a focus on the residents having stewardship and governance of the land and offering opportunities for their future such as construction training, nutrition and cooking classes and careers development. 

Unhoused residents making use of the center's facilities told DailyMail.com they finally have a place 'that I can call home' as they said people from all walks of lives and professions have fallen into homelessness in the community. 

Organizers plan to develop the site further with a GoFundMe campaign reaching more than $57,000 in donations by Saturday morning.

Oakland residents sick of the housing crisis have built a complex below an underpass dubbed Cob on Wood

An inside view of a tiny home, called a cobin, at Cob on Wood in Oakland, California, made from foraged materials

Vibrant murals add color to the area and there's even a cob pizza oven for people to enjoy their dining experience 

Dubbed Cob on Wood, the small village center sprung up along Wood Street in West Oakland, beneath Interstate 880, in recent months

The site is complete with a hot shower, fully stocked community kitchen, outdoor pizza oven and health clinic

It features colorful murals and offers services for around 300 homeless people living at nearby encampments to make use of

The full-stocked kitchen is open 24/7 7 for people to make use of its food, fridge, stove, pantry and sink 

A woman called Nicolette eats lunch on one of the picnic benches in Cob on Wood in the complex in West Oakland 

The small civic center features a network of small huts known as 'cobins' for homeless people living in vehicles, tents and improvised shelters nearby to safely take shelter in. 

There's also a communal kitchen with sink, stove, pantry and fridge stocked full of food that residents can access 24/7 seven days a week. 

A hot shower and compostable toilet have also been built on site and residents have access to a free store full of donated clothing and toys for them to take as they need.

Other services include a free health clinic with herbal remedies, balms and salves as well as on-site practitioners to help the vulnerable population stay healthy.  

The aesthetic of the area has also been completely transformed. 

Where once trash and needles littered the area, gravel pathways have been laid, flowers and vegetable gardens planted potted and picnic tables set up to create a communal outdoor space.

Vibrant murals add color to the area and there's even a cob pizza oven for people to enjoy.  

The structures are made from foraged materials including sand, water, straw and subsoil making sustainable and long lasting.  

Beyond the physical benefits of offering these services to homeless residents, the village aims to provide a sense of community and land ownership. 

The site was built under the Interstate 880 underpass which is home to one of the city's biggest homeless encampments 

Marchant Layne in Cob on Wood on Wednesday. The small village center sprung up in recent months along Wood Street in West Oakland, beneath Interstate 880

The site has transformed a patch of one of the city's biggest homeless encampments into a community area that residents can make their own

It was developed back in December by a group of local organizers who decided to take matters into their own hands to tackle the homelessness crisis and provide much-needed support for the city's homeless population

It features a free store (above) where homeless residents can access for free clothes, shoes, books and toys as they need 

The notice board has a sign welcoming people to the area which now serves anywhere between 150 and 300 homeless people in the area

One resident called Oliver told DailyMail.com the creation of Cob on Wood has given him somewhere to go as he reminded people that 'we're regular people just like y'all.' 

'I didn't expect to be on Wood Street but I am on Wood Street and this is basically a home that I can call home because I have nowhere to go,' he said. 

'Yes we are homeless people but, you know what, we're regular people just like y'all.'

He said people living on the street and using the facilities are 'hard workers' who have come from all sorts of professions and have fallen on hard times.  

'We're hard workers - we have welders, construction jobs, teachers, we got young people here that know how to dance and sing,' he said.

'We got people that basically are mechanics work on big boy trucks, big boy welders, regular people.'

Another resident Lydia told how she ended up moving to an encampment in the area because her RV was gettign towed.   

'My first RV was towed a few years ago,' she told DailyMail.com.

'When I asked police where I could go that my RV wouldn't be towed they said Wood Street.' 

The free store within the Cob on Wood complex is available for people to take what they need when they need it 

Resident Marchant Lane stands among the area which has been transformed since the development began in December

A sewing area for people to amend or make clothing. The area has a focus on the residents having stewardship and governance of the land

A hot shower is seen with towels available for use. There is also a compostable toilet on site for residents to use

The compostable toilet is pictured. Organizers plan to develop the site further with a GoFundMe campaign reaching more than $57,000 in donations by Saturday morning

A small garden used to grow herbs is seen at the site. Unhoused residents making use of the center's facilities told DailyMail.com they finally have a place 'that I can call home'

Cob on Wood organizer Leah Van Winkle told DailyMail.com between 150 and 300 people live in the nearby area and can make use of the facilities and services on offer.   

Van Winkle said three community groups Living Earth Structures, Essential Food and Medicine (EFAM) and Artists Building Communities came together in December to develop the area in response to resident requests.  

'Cob on Wood itself serves the broader Wood Street community which is a much larger space anywhere between 150 and 300 people live on this land,' she said. 

'These structures were erected in terms of getting to know the community and what they need and hearing a lot of need for support structures.' 

The land where Wood Street - and now Cob on Wood - is based is partly owned by the state's transport agency, Caltrans, and partly the city of Oakland and the organizers are turning their attentions to trying to protect residents from eviction and further displacement. 

'We've been reaching out a lot more to residents and collaborating with residents to stop evictions, to stop displacement,' said Van Winkle.

Residents now have access to a free store full of donated clothing and toys for them to take as they need

There's also a communal kitchen with sink, stove, pantry and fridge stocked full of food that residents can access 24/7 seven days a week 

A map showing the intended layout of Cob on Wood in Oakland, which was set up by three community groups in the area

An area to make peace flags. The site also offers opportunities for their future such as construction training, nutrition and cooking classes and careers development

Other services include a free health clinic (above) with herbal remedies, balms and salves as well as on-site practitioners to help the vulnerable population stay healthy

The aesthetic of the area has also been completely transformed. Where once trash and needles littered the area, gravel pathways have been laid, flowers and vegetable gardens planted potted

She said the focus is on working with residents to give them a sense of land ownership and enabling them to enjoy and run the space as they wish. 

'What really matters here is that residents from this place, from this land, are fully living into these structures and are guiding their own process of self-governance and stewardship of land,' she said.

'We're having a big weekend of clean up efforts this weekend and probably ongoing in to the next weeks which are 100 percent residents led.

'Residents will be leading the clear-up effort and that's really the role of organizations in this space to build up the efforts on the ground and not just give residents a voice at the table but create the ground where people can just come up and live into their own visions and be stewards of land and space and community.'

There is also the aim to build residential 'cobins' for homeless people to live in long term as well as chicken coops, and a water system to install a washer and dryer using recycled water.  

Oakland has been rocked by soaring rates of homelessness in recent times with official data revealing at least 140 encampments across the city.  

But the city has been slammed for its inadequate response to the crisis. 

A small sleeping shelter known as a 'cobin'. The structures are made from foraged materials including sand, water, straw and subsoil making sustainable and long lasting

Beyond the physical benefits of offering these services to homeless residents, the village aims to provide a sense of community and land ownership 

Resident breaks down boxes in the area Wednesday. The community area provides an alternative remedy to help tackle the city's homelessness crisis

Shelves full of food are seen in the community kitchen. The city has launched a number of projects but have all fallen short

Three community groups Living Earth Structures, Essential Food and Medicine (EFAM) and Artists Building Communities came together in December to develop the area in response to resident request

The land where Wood Street - and now Cob on Wood - is based is partly owned by the state's transport agency, Caltrans, and partly the city of Oakland

Organizers are turning their attentions to trying to protect residents from eviction and further displacement

Organizers plan to develop the site further with a GoFundMe campaign reaching more than $57,000 in donations by Saturday morning

An audit released in April found the city was 'not adequately prepared to shoulder such a massive project' and 'did not have a strategy.' 

This came after the United Nations general assembly slammed the city's treatment of homeless people as 'cruel and inhumane' in 2018.

The city has launched a number of projects including its Tuff Shed program offering temporary transitional shelters to the homeless and assisting in the finding of permanent housing.  

'Safe RV Parking' sites have also been set up to prevent the displacement of people and has invested $12.6 million over the past two years.

But both homeless and housed residents in the city believe efforts have fallen short and the situation only worsened due to COVID-19 as the homeless population nationwide were vulnerable to cramped conditions and lack of healthcare amid the pandemic. 

The community area provides an alternative remedy to help tackle the city's homelessness crisis.  

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