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Deal offered to homeless at Berkeley’s “People’s Park”

An entrance to Berkeley's "People's Park"
Wally Gobetz
Flickr / Creative Commons
An entrance to Berkeley's "People's Park"

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Berkeley plan will give the roughly 55 people now living in tents in People’s Park the option to move into the Rodeway Inn on University Avenue for free for as long as 18 months.

The First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley will also work with the city and UC-Berkeley to construct a daytime drop-in center at the church to provide services to the unhoused.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín praised the agreement, saying the deal would put a roof over the heads of park residents, instead of moving them from one place to another.

The lodging will be provided through a 4.7 million grant from the state’s encampment resolution fund and more than two million dollars from the University, according to a spokesperson for Mayor Arreguin.

The 2.8 acre site has been open space for more than 50 years, when the university demolished homes there to make way for the construction of student dormitories. However, students and local activists opposing the plans took over the site, renaming it “People’s Park,” which became the site of anti-war protests, concerts and, most recently, an encampment for the local homeless population.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.