Highlights (In Progress)

D3 Innovation Session

The D3 Innovation Session is part of a series of community engagement around the homelessness crisis. In these sessions, skilled facilitators, community members, both housed and unhoused, are brought together to share their experiences and draw upon one another's wisdom to co-create possible solutions. 

Department of Violence Prevention

The Department of Violence Prevention (DVP) aims to provide dedicated leadership to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of our children, eradicate domestic violence, dramatically reduce homicides, and pave the way for improved policing. While the legislation has passed, work continues to champion community led violence prevention strategies developed by and for those most affected by violence and to hire a Chief of Violence Prevention.

Compassionate Communities

Compassionate Communities was a 2016 initiative conducted by the D3 Team, the City and Keith Carson's Office that created the first sanctioned encampment for the unsheltered in Oakland. By concentrating services to an area where unsheltered participants were already present, CCP succeeded in housing about 3/4 of its 42 participants with more appropriate housing. 

Love Life!

Love Life, an affirmation of Oakland's dedication to the virtues of love, decency, and respect is now the official motto of the City of Oakland. Dedicated in the memory of LoEshe Lacy, Love Life is a reminder to everyone who has been a victim of violence that they are not forgotten.

Measure Z

Grocery Markets into West Oakland

D3 Innovation Session

The District 3 Office, in collaboration with Reflex Design Collective hosted its first District 3 Innovation Session, a collaborative workshop that utilizes a similar kind of “design thinking” used by technology companies to create user interfaces and products but with an emphasis on human centered design. As the homelessness crisis continues to reach new heights and efforts to address these issues have stalled, the Innovation Session provided an opportunity for community members to gather, listen to another, and most importantly step into the shoes of policy makers and craft solutions. Having learned the importance of community engagement during our time with the Compassionate Communities Pilot, we planned for this session to incorporate all the various subsections of our diverse city from residents and unsheltered to businesses and local service providers. By bringing together so many different people it was our hope that together, with our collective wisdom and experiences, we could shed a new light on this crisis and more importantly on our own capacity to create genuine connections that can elicit change. With the wonderful facilitation of Reflex Design Collective, stereotypes were broken down and misconceptions about one another's beliefs and perspectives were rectified through a series of ideation activities that had participants work with one another on a variety of different scenarios based on issues our office currently faces. Over a period of 6 hours, various cups of coffee, and a hodgepodge of random knick knacks like pipe cleaners and legos, teams created and presented projects to one another.

The running themes behind many of the solutions?

There is not enough understanding between different parts of the community, our understanding often shaped by inconsistent assumptions of who the other is, what they need, and their willingness to be part of the solution. Real solutions require genuine consultation between all people affected (both housed and unhoused) as well as a campaign to educate one another to issues we all face with homelessness.

Opportunities like these to hear from and work with our constituents are immensely valuable. We look forward to hosting more sessions like these. With so much work to be done, this is just the beginning. Special thanks to Reflex Design for their lending us their talents and for their commitment to the cause.

" Reflex has shown me that their methods can bring together the most marginalized residents - our unhoused neighbors- to be part of a process of community change. This improved paradigm for innovation: one where communities are empowered to work more creatively together through healing relationships and new skills lifts the brilliance of challenged communities that often goes untapped, and frankly, is often disrespected. Their work is not about identifying exceptional individuals among us but activating what is exceptional in all of us - a much more powerful force for change. As someone who has been working on behalf of Oaklanders for a long time, we need processes like theirs that allow stakeholders to overcome conflict, bias, trauma, fear, and despair to co-create a better future."

-Councilmember Lynette McElhaney

We look forward to having you at our next session!

Department of Violence prevention


Oakland Needs A Department Dedicated To Violence Prevention.  

Oakland’s violence prevention efforts are not given the same respect as Oakland Police.  Current efforts are buried and scattered over various departments. The DVP will aggregate and align existing resources for better alignment, increased accountability, elevated importance and strategic coordination.

The Mayor and the Council recognize that leadership and focus makes better outcomes and recently set aside over $2 million to set up a Department of Transportation and an Office of Animal Services. If we can do this for puppies and potholes why not people?  We need the DVP.

The DVP Will Elevate Violence Prevention Efforts To Be Of Equal Footing With OPD 

 The people who experience the problem hold the key to the solution.  But so far, the “street wisdom” is cut off from direct access to the City Administrator. Today those who work directly with community go through at least 4 layers of bureaucracy. The DVP will cut through bureaucratic red tape by hiring a Chief of Violence Prevention that will have relationships with the street and report directly to the City Administrator.

The DVP Will Work Directly With The People Who Experience Violence To Find Solutions And Provide Community Healing 

The mission of the DVP is to serve the communities most impacted by violence and those who are most likely to be future victims or perpetrators of violent crime to dramatically reduce violent crime and to end the cycle of trauma. The Department of Violence Prevention (DVP) will provide high-level, focused attention to address the 3 most critical violent crimes that traumatize our communities: 

  • Homicides and Shootings
  • Domestic Violence
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

The DVP will be the only department specifically established to give community-led strategies equal footing with law enforcement. 

The DVP will be the only department specifically tasked with developing plans to address domestic violence, combatting the rape and trafficking of children, investing in solutions to address trauma and providing support and advocacy for violent crime victims to solve cold cases.

The DVP will be directed to pursue a public health approach to violence prevention and to focus on the successful implementation of community-led violence prevention and intervention strategies to make Oakland safe for all.

Why We Can’t Wait: Oakland Has Been Far Too Dangerous For Fall Too Long.

 Oakland is the most violent city in the State of California and, according to statistics compiled by the FBI consistently ranks among the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States.

  • Oakland is 3 ½ times more violent than the State average
  • Gun Violence is out of control
  • On average 85 people will be killed each year – that’s nearly 2 people each week – and four times that number are shot and survive.
  • Black men are 63 times (63x) more likely and Latino men are 22 times (22x)  than their white counterparts to be killed
  • There are over 2000 cold cases, unsolved homicides

Oakland experiences twice (2x) the rate of Domestic – or Familial - Violence

  • Nearly 7000 calls annually
  • The results are devastating
    • physical trauma
    • PTSD
    • Depression
    • Disassociation (chronic inability to focus or engage)
    • Developmental issues for traumatized children
  • Children raised in homes with familial violence are more likely to become victims of exploitation, violent crimes and to become violent
  • Places educators, teachers and other students at risk
  • Oakland has no coherent, coordinated strategies to address domestic violence

Oakland Is An International Hub For The People Engaged In The Illegal Sex Trade That Kidnap, Rape And Exploit Our Children

  • Commonly called pimping and prostitution District Attorney Nancy O’Malley identifies Oakland as a major HUB for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) 
  • There is no such thing as a child prostitute; these are rape victims
  • Nearly half of all convictions statewide are in Alameda County
  • In the 5 year period from 2011-2016, OPD pursued almost 500 human trafficking cases
  • The City of Oakland only invests in the law enforcement aspect of this work and does not have any centralized or organized prevention or intervention strategy.
  • The work of the CSEC interagency task force established in 2013  by the Council needs to be supported by a department and given resources and influence in order to be effective

Existing Funds Are Sufficient To Address Oakland’s Needs Without Impacting Programs.

The voters passed Measure Z in 2014, the extension of a 2004 parcel and parking tax that provides approximately $28 million a year for community policing and violence prevention and established an independent citizens oversight commission to oversee the strategies and spending of these funds. The Administration already spends $1.3 Million. These funds can be redirected to pay for the Chief of Violence Prevention without impacting existing programs.

Despite collecting $300 million, Oakland has yet to see a significant sustained drop in violent crime.  Other cities, like Richmond, have seen dramatic declines in violent crime, for a fraction of the investment. 13 years after the passage of Measure Y, Oakland still lacks a coordinated strategic outcome driven plan to coordinate violence prevention efforts and violence reduction has stalled. Failure to reduce homicides is enormously expensive – leading to millions of OPD overtime pay and 1000s of lost lives. Oakland Violence Disproportionately Impacts African American And Latino Families  This impacts multiple generations and leads to health inequities.

The DVP will not interrupt Operation Ceasefire

Oakland’s Ceasefire program will remain housed within the Oakland Police Department (OPD) without interruption.  The DVP will be a more streamlined, aligned department with increased bandwidth to coordinate services for Ceasefire participants.

The DVP will not interrupt or delay the implementation of Measure LL – Police Oversight Commission – reforms

 The DVP provides expanded capacity and leadership to existing programs based on current dedicated funding streams and is not a threat to the needed reforms. We must address both sides of the reform coin to see Oakland safe.Oakland Needs A Breakthrough. The City will not experience a break in violence while holding onto low expectations.  The objective of Violence Prevention and OPD reforms is to make Oakland safe. We propose that the focus should be at a minimum to obtain an 80% homicide clearance rate, plus an 80% reduction in homicide within the next three years. The “80-80-3” should be the City Administrator’s #1 priority. 80-80-3 is a specific measurable aspirational, and attainable, time certain goal to dramatically reduce the number of people shot or killed in the City of Oakland while upholding all of the principles of constitutional policing.

The DVP Has Broad Support From Community 

The proposal has been endorsed by:

Bishop Bob Jackson | Pastor Zachary Carey | Bishop Joseph Simmons |Pastors of Oakland | Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) | Khadafy Washington Foundation |Love Not Blood Campaign, Uncle Bobby & Aunt Bea |LoveLife Foundation, Donald E. Lacy Jr. |1000 Mothers |Audrey Candy Corn, mother of Torian Hughes |Adamika Village, Daryle Allums |Attitudinal Healing Connection, Amana Harris|Donald Frazier | Ali Ar Rasheed |Rev. Ira Dickerson Jr. |Pastor Joseph Jones | Chef Mimi, mother of Sultan Bey | 100s of other victims 

Can a new Oakland Department reduce Violence?

Oakland City Council Passes Divisive Proposal to Establish Violence Prevention Department

Compassionate Communities


Innovating Supports for the Unsheltered (Homeless)

A year ago, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and I brought our staffs together with County and City professionals and non-profit service providers to work on system design changes in how we serve our unsheltered constituents.  After six months of design meetings, we launched the “Compassionate Communities” a 6-month pilot which launched October 2016. In launching the pilot, we theorized that a “services in place” model – as opposed to the current inadequate protocol of abatement/recampment - would better serve both the neighborhoods and the unsheltered.  We are seeking to break the costly and ineffective cycle of removing unpermitted campsites by providing direct social services to the unsheltered while eliminating the environmental harms these camps cause. We know that these sites produce burdensome conditions on adjacent homes and businesses, such as obstructing the public right-of-way on sidewalks, accumulation of garbage, human waste and other blighting conditions. Unregulated campsites cannot be sustainably removed. There are nearly 2000 people living outdoors and the lack of Federal funding for this national crisis leaves local jurisdictions scrambling. We launched the first phase of the pilot with 42 participants – the vast majority of whom have now obtained appropriate housing, intensive case management and are no longer living on the street.  The pilot has proven highly effective on each of its benchmarks:

1) Restoration of the public right-of-way, 

2) Reduction in unpermitted sites within the corridor, 

3) Reduced threats from human waste, illegal dumping and garbage, 

4) Enhanced Coordination to quickly house those living outdoors.

The Compassionate Communities pilot has provided significant insight into the opportunity to improve the delivery of public support for unsheltered residents and advanced needed innovation to improve the quality of life for District 3 residents and businesses that are bearing the brunt of our failed economy.

Lessons Learned:

Regulated and supported campsites provide greater protection to public health and safety

  • Residents complied with locating tents inside the permitted area, did not resettle in areas where tents had been previously located.
  • Campers and others used the trash receptacles and lavatories provided and serviced

Campers were more receptive to social services support and housing

  • Although anecdotal at this point, it appears that providing people with permitted spaces allowed them to engage more confidently with the non-profit social workers to obtain additional supports

Community Engagement is critically important to success

  • Compassionate Communities began with early conversations with the traditionally housed residents and several concerned business owners.
  • Campsite residents must be engaged before implementation to ensure cooperation with social services, regulation and facilities use

Greater resources are needed to address mental health and addiction challenges

  • Not all, but many people living outdoors are in dire need of sustained mental health and addiction treatment services
  • Delivering these services while people are unstable is extremely difficult
  • We need to increase the capacity of non-profit organizations and county services
  • Police enforcement is difficult and convictions are unpredictable – often those arrested are released without charge by the DA to return and reoffend.

The City needs to establish permitted campsites in multiple locations

  • As we settled people into housing, more people moved to Magnolia in order to obtain services; I believe this might have been lessened had we obtained the full funding to launch 3 sites simultaneously so that people would understand services are going to be delivered to them where they are currently located.
  • Homelessness is a national crisis; until systems are aligned to improve access to low cost housing, employment and mental health, cities are going to continue to experience pressure to address outdoor dwelling; regulating permitted spaces will reduce public health and environmental harms associated with random tent locations.

SF Homeless Project: Can Oakland's Compassionate Communities Program Serve as a Model for Others?

Oakland’s aid to homeless camps reveals extent of heroin use

Love Life!

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION NO. 86088 C.M.S. (Passed on April 2017)



WHEREAS, Oakland is a beautiful diverse and inclusive city that is known worldwide for its long and rich tradition of social activisim and advocacy and takes great pride in its diversity and it’s long-standing commitment to holistic social policy and creating an environment of inclusion and equity; and

WHEREAS, Oakland’s residents and leaders are firmly committed to adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing the conditions that lead to violence and toward creating a climate of restoration for the individuals and communities impacted by violence; and

WHEREAS, the senseless loss of life to gun violence impacts tens of thousands of Oakland’s youth and adults who witness violence or live in tyranny every day, and despite modest drops in violent crimes this year, the abysmally low clearance rate for homicide and the proliferation of illegal firearms continues to plague our city makes the community feels that Oakland’s leaders have turned a blind eye to the real human cost to the spirit of the people who live with this daily threat; and

WHEREAS, the Lovelife Foundation was founded to honor the work and vision of LoEshe' Lacy, at 16 year-old West Oakland student activist who was an innocent victim of a shooting on October 20, 1997 in Oakland; and

WHEREAS, the name LoEshe' is lbo/Nigerian and means "Love life" in English, and

WHEREAS, the Lovelife Foundation together with dozens of other organizations and hundreds of residents and activists in Oakland to send the message of love and healing to the individuals and communities impacted by violence and have advocated for the City to adopt a citywide message that honors the lives of the thousands of members of our community who have been killed by senseless violence especially our youth and articulates our aspirations for the future; and

WHEREAS, the “Love Life” motto reflects the joy and energy that characterize our artists and businesses and “Love Life” responds to our communal desire to build an inclusive, equitable, and authentic Oakland;

WHEREAS, “Love Life” demonstrates a united care and concern to inform and guide our practices in our quest to make Oakland a safe, just, sustainable, equitable and vibrant city; and

WHEREAS, for more than 10 years, community members have advocated for the City to adopt a motto and tagline of “Love Life” and “Oakland – the Love Life City,” and now the immense level of public support at the moment reflects the desires of long-tenured Oaklanders who continue to believe in Oakland; and

WHEREAS, establishing this motto begins to communicate Oakland’s deep sense of civic pride and the City’s intention to create more symbology that speaks to the resilience and beauty that is the soul of the town; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED: That the official city motto of the City of Oakland is “Love Life”; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED: That the City Council directs the City Administrator to incorporate the use of the motto in all official communication and return with a recommendation on the best means by which to publicize the City’s adopted motto through welcome signage, in the City’s official communications and by other means deemed appropriate

The meaning behind Oakland's new motto, 'love life'

Oakland unviels "Love Life" sign, honoring a father who lost his child