Berkeley Free Clinic Statement of Opposition to Albany Bulb Eviction
Berkeley Free Clinic Statement of Opposition
The Berkeley Free Clinic opposes the continuing eviction of City of Albany residents from the Albany Bulb and the forced displacement of these citizens to Berkeley and surrounding communities. The Albany City Council has not provided these Albany residents with adequate housing and social programs. The Council's only action prior to the eviction has been to pay the Berkeley Food and Housing Project $60,000 to absorb these 60 to 70 residents, in lieu of providing adequate services in Albany. Berkeley and surrounding cities do not have available housing and social services to accommodate this many new homeless people in such a short time. Forcing residents out of their stable community in the Albany Bulb is traumatic and will strain the already highly-impacted social services in Alameda County. It is the opinion of the Berkeley Free Clinic that the Albany Bulb Eviction is equivalent to eviction from low-income housing.
Background of the Albany Bulb Community and Eviction
The Albany Bulb was originally a decommissioned landfill in the city of Albany, filled with debris, plastic, and trash from a railroad company in the 1950s. Although officially registered as a city park in the 1960s, the landfill was neglected by Albany residents due to the amount of trash in the area. In the 1990s, a community of people made the Bulb their home: they transformed what was considered a dump into a stable community. The people of this community have built homes, social spaces, including a library and an amphitheatre, and public art out of debris from the landfill. After this community settled the area, increasingly more Albany and East Bay residents began to use the park recreationally.
Today, this development has unfortunately led to a backlash from the Albany City Council, who, on October 1, 2013, evicted this founding community from the home they created. With all shelters in the East Bay at full capacity, there is nowhere for this population to go.
In order to address the eviction, the city of Albany has made a $60,000 contract with Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP). This contract, however, does not solve the immediate problem of the lack of housing: it merely provides financial support for housing assistance through BFHP, which is already at capacity serving Berkeley residents.
According to the Albany City Council, the reason for the Bulb eviction is to turn the Bulb into the Albany Waterfront Park and eventually into an extension of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. The Sierra Club and CESP (Citizens for East Shore Parks) have heavily lobbied the Albany City Council to evict the Albany citizens from the Bulb.