We Champion New Policy with Teeth in the City of Oakland for Safe & Healthy Homes

When we first starting looking into what was going on after the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire and the Reuters article about lead poisoning in Fruitvale being 4xs worse than Flint, MI in December 2016 we wanted to find out what was going on that allowed these deadly, disability-causing, housing related issues spiral out of control without anyone noticing the build up that must have been taking place for them to happen.

We looked for the one person who was the point of contact, but there were no people like that to be found. We looked for data and couldn't find anything more than census data and human health studies that look at people more as a biomass to be studied from afar without any real-time intervention for the issues they discover.

 Oakland City Hall after a Golden State Warrior Championship Win in 2015 photo credit: Greg Linhares, City of Oakland

Oakland City Hall after a Golden State Warrior Championship Win in 2015
photo credit: Greg Linhares, City of Oakland

These two events happened right after we wrapped up working on the Resilient Oakland Strategic Playbook and had created a coloring book to go with it for families and generations to share stories of Oaklander resilience as we consider the past, actively engage in the present, and benefit by choices we make today in the future.

So I started to find out that you have to get into every aspect of a problem at the city level to change something that has been going on for decades.

This photo is so beautiful it was used in the Resilient Oakland Playbook and all those little talk bubbles are what people from the communities, not from City Hall, had to say about what needs to happen to fix real problems and deliver real services of value.

We've spent about five years working on projects in and around Oakland, some with the city and many with the community and we think we understand where people are coming from.

That's why we created SmartOakland to be the bridge between the two. 

We are the community and we serve it too. We will be and remain active in local government and play the role of facilitator, data scientists, educators, and creators of solutions that work to create bridges where they need to be built and translators where people need to understand each other.

We look forward to getting to know many more people and to work with leaders on policies and local legislation that protects everyone - starting with a Healthy Homes Inspection Program that ensures children are not lead poisoned in older homes that are not well-maintained throughout Oakland.