During her annual State of the City address on Thursday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called on her constituents to open their doors and residences to the city’s homeless, as union workers picketed against her for her administration’s handling of the city’s rampant housing problem.
“Give up that Airbnb. Fix up that back unit,” Schaff said, encouraging property owners to lease apartments at more affordable rates to recently homeless individuals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“In Oakland, we don’t step over the homeless we step toward them,” Schaaf said.
The city’s uptick in vagrants is tied to a general gentrification in the Bay Area, stemming from San Francisco, where artists and innovators unable to afford skyrocketing rents have migrated to Oakland.
Outside Schaaf’s Thursday event and planned festivities, hundreds of Service Employees International Union (SEIU )Local 102 union workers — ranging from librarians to street cleaners to city employees — reportedly picketed against the mayor. According to the Chronicle, their stated aim was to draw attention to “the real state of Oakland,” as opposed to the one Schaaf presented on Thursday.
All eight City Council members reportedly said they chose not to attend to because of the demonstration.
Despite their protests, the Chronicle noted that Schaaf said she had great respect for the protesters who were “expressing Oakland values” and speaking “truth to power.”
Schaaf also took the opportunity to rail against President Donald Trump, specifically choosing to hold her event at the Islamic Cultural Center. She did so, she reportedly said, to send “one clear message. And that is that Oakland welcome and honor all people, all families, and all communities.”