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Two Bay Area Cities Consider Ways to Shelter the Homeless

With a record El Niño in the forecast, two Bay Area cities are contemplating new ways to shelter burgeoning homeless populations. Local news outlets are reporting that the San Jose City Council is considering creating a tent city to house homeless residents and that the Oakland City Council is voting on a measure that would allow them to convert nonresidential buildings (such as a warehouse) into shelters. Both measures are on the table today.

San Jose is considering the action to deal with a growing homeless problem, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The newspaper reports that 11 two-acre sites are being evaluated for tent housing. Locations range from near highways and off ramps to around vacant buildings. Officials told reporters the effort would be managed by a nonprofit entity and house no more than 50 people. The report also speculates that idea of a city-endorsed tent encampment will be controversial.

The Oakland Tribune reports that the Oakland city council is deciding at this hour whether to declare a homeless crisis, which would allow officials to relax building and planning requirements and convert nonresidential buildings into shelters. The news report says that the city has about 400 shelter beds for the winter, but there are approximately 1,400 people living on the streets.

· Lake Tahoe's Snowpack is Still Above Average as El Niño Continues to Strengthen [Curbed Ski]
· San Jose council explores tent city idea to house homeless [San Jose Mercury News]
· Oakland City Council considering easing rules to overcome homeless shelter crisis [Oakland Tribune]