House Oakland’s Homeless on a Cruise Ship?

The Oakland, California city council president has floated an idea to house 1,000 of the city’s homeless on a cruise ship, according to local news reports.

At a public meeting Tuesday, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan said a ship in the city’s harbor could act as emergency housing for the city’s ballooning homeless population, which rose from 1,900 to more than 3,200 since 2018, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Kaplan reportedly plans to officially propose the idea in January.

The council president claimed to already be in discussions with cruise lines about the project, which would offer cabin space on a pay-what-you-can scale, based on income.

She said similar efforts had worked to temporarily shelter aid workers after natural disasters, and to house Olympic athletes.

Obvious unaddressed problems include the overall cost of per-square-foot cruise cabins versus shoreside apartments:

  • Fuel and crew pay getting a ship to Oakland.
  • Fuel to operate the ship while in harbor.
  • California shoreside power regulations, both current and future.
  • Waste water produced by the ship.
  • Fresh water needed for the ship.
  • Paying the necessary ship’s crew while in harbor.
  • Comparatively quick degradation of ship infrastructure versus that of land-based buildings.

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