Homelessness

PHOTOS: Helping others in his memory — slain teen’s family holds coat drive in his honor

Jazmine Perkins and her family were busy last weekend, collecting loads of sweaters, coats, shoes, blankets, socks, hats, scarves and gloves. Every year since 2019, Perkins has done something to honor her brother, Jamarrea “JMac” Frazier, an aspiring artist and basketball player at De Anza High School who was fatally shot Nov. 26, 2019, in North Richmond.  “Last year I fed the homeless. I set up out here and I had turkey, all type of food. And what I had…

City council candidates weigh in on how to help Richmond’s unhoused community

Kevin Canamore wants answers. He wants his community to get the services it was promised. But more than anything, he just wants to live in a real house. Canamore was living on Rydin Road, one of the largest homeless encampments in Richmond until it was cleared last weekend. According to Contra Costa County’s Homeless Point-In-Time Count for 2022, Richmond is home to 632 unsheltered people. That number is 90% higher than the 2019 figure. While the city is in the…

People of Richmond: Is it time to create a safe parking area for people who live in RVs?

“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity. Q: Should Richmond create an RV parking area for people who live in vehicles? And if so, where? “Absolutely, there should be designated areas for people that have no choice but to live in their vehicles due to housing crises and the unavailability of places for people to rent, and the high cost…

Rydin Road RV camp cleared; residents say they felt forced to leave their homes

By Saturday, the last 28 people living in vehicles on Rydin Road were relocated by Richmond’s Public Works and Police departments.  Non-functioning vehicles and the remaining recreational vehicles were moved to Safe Organized Spaces, under Interstate 580. Residents are temporarily being housed in motels in the surrounding area including in Pinole, Pittsburg, and Brookside Shelter in Richmond. Former Rydin Road residents can work on their vehicles from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily at SOS. “I have been informed by…

Martha’s Vineyard meets Richmond: Mayor suggests Rydin RV dwellers park at council members’ homes

In a move reminiscent of the recent migrant stunt pulled by Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt listed the home addresses of his opponents on the City Council as “RV-friendly parking spots” in an email to advocates for the unhoused community.   On Sept. 19, Darcy Crosman, a member of the Alliance for Action on Homelessness and Fire Safety, emailed Butt and other council members for alternative locations that residents who wanted to live in their…

Richmond Council pushes back Rydin camp closure, as some residents have nowhere to go

Rydin Road residents have been given a reprieve.  The Richmond City Council approved a contract amendment at its Tuesday meeting that will extend the sunset date for some Rydin Road residents. The extension allows the RV encampment to keep providing shelter for residents who need more time to transition. The council voted 5-2 to push back the closing date from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21 for those with special circumstances and to allow $50,000 to be equally distributed among residents…

New grant offers hope of housing for people encamped on Castro Street

Angelina Peña moved into a trailer in a vacant parking lot in North Richmond nine months ago.  “Unfortunately, hardship happened,” she said, offering a quick explanation of the predicament that took her away from her children and to the encampment where her sister was living.  Peña landed a job with Safe Organized Spaces, an advocacy group that donated the trailer she lives in alongside about 100 other residents at the Castro Street encampment. Named after its entrance at the intersection…

Richmond renter sues former landlord amid pandemic-era spike in harassment

These days Clara Realageno sleeps in her car. In the morning she packs up her things — a pillow, blankets, a suitcase and some toiletries — and drops them off at a friend’s house so they don’t get stolen while she’s at work. It’s been five months since Realageno’s landlord evicted her by changing the locks to her studio in Richmond. With nowhere else to go, Realageno now spends most nights in her backseat. In September, Realageno sued her former…

Fires at Castro encampment renew calls for safety at Richmond RV sites

Reggie Wiggins opened the door to his stepmother’s recreational vehicle in a Richmond encampment in the early hours of Oct. 8 and felt a wave of heat. Wiggins, who had been staying with his stepmother in an RV at a homeless encampment by the Richmond Parkway, saw a car and an RV on fire nearby.  “Everything was up in flames,” Wiggins, 30, said. “Ash flying up everywhere. It was a scary moment.” This site, often called the Castro Encampment because…