Police towed RVs from a homeless camp to her street. Now residents are moving out, ‘our tenants have left’


Drug use, drug dealing, prostitution, fighting and heaps of litter are common sights in the rougher parts of town, but when Oakland police moved several RVs and their occupants outside the building Elecia Holland manages, the new landscape deterred potential renters.

“We’ve seen drug use, we’ve seen drug dealing, we’ve seen them bring stolen cars here and break them down for parts,” Holland told Fox News. “We see people that are sex workers across the other side of the street go into one of the RV’s that’s burned down, and, you know.”

RV camped on side of street outside of Oakland apartment

The view out from Holland’s Oakland apartment. Trash and a diesel generator sit outside an occupied RV that has been there for months.  (Jon Michael Raasch/Fox News)

“So we’re seeing all of those things that come along with people having a criminal lifestyle,” she continued. “People don’t want to see that.”

The RVs were moved to Holland’s street in the Spring of 2022 when police broke up a nearby encampment after a structure fire and neighbors complained, she said. 

“The RVs that are actually in front of our property and the RVs that are behind our property were towed here and directed to park here by the Oakland Police Department,” she told Fox News. “We watched them do it.”

Homelessness in Oakland has more than doubled from 2015 to 2022, according to city data, bringing the total of unsheltered individuals to 5,055. More than half — 58% — of Oakland’s homeless population lives in RVs, trucks or cars, many parked on the side of the roads or under freeway overpasses.  

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The Oakland police and fire departments have dealt with homeless camps catching fire for years. Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office sent a letter to city officials saying their handling of encampments was “simply unacceptable.”

The 2022 letter also noted that Oakland has received totaling $4.7 million over the previous two years to address homeless encampments. 

Holland and several of her tenants have contacted the police repeatedly to request the RVs parked outside their building be moved and have reported the myriad of crimes that are committed outside their windows.

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“The police department has been here on several occasions when we call them, and they say their officers say there’s nothing that they can do,” Holland said. “We had a sergeant tell our tenants that lived two doors down that they should just move.”

“City officials and the police won’t do anything about the homeless issues here,” she added. “It has been difficult to lease the vacancies because of it.” 

Exteriors of burned-down Oakland homeless camp

Burnt furniture, food, auto parts, and other personal items in the aftermath of a homeless encampment fire in 2021 in Oakland. (@OaklandFireCA via Twitter)

More than 35% of Oakland residents said homelessness is the most urgent problem the city must address in the 2023-2023 budget, according to a survey of 1,270 locals. The same survey found 63% of residents disapprove of the job the city government is doing.

Holland said the people living outside her building steal electricity and ignore local noise and sanitary ordinances.

“You would get kicked out of your house if you lived this way inside of somebody’s property,” she said.

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Residents in her building worry about retaliation if they call the police on the people living outside because the individuals living in the RVs “see where they live.”

The apartment building has cut the cost of the vacant units by as much as 40% since last year.

“This year we have had two tenants move out citing the noise” from the RVs and their generators, Holland said. “A lot of our tenants have left Oakland recently.” 

A boat leans on an RV parked outside of the Exchange Studios in Oakland.

A boat leans on a lifted RV parked on the street outside the Exchange Studios in West Oakland. Locals say the vehicle has been there for months.  (Jon Michael Raasch/Fox News Digital)

Holland said the way to fix the growing homelessness issue is to get people off of the street and into counseling. 

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“Being allowed to sit here to their own devices, I mean, it’s a death sentence for them and it’s not helping them at all,” Holland continued. “It’s actually inhumane.”

The Oakland Police Department did not return a request for comment. 

To watch the full interview with Holland, click here.  

Ramiro Vargas contributed to this video report.



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