Please note this is a long-term GoFundMe and reflects the amount raised since its creation in 2020.
Urban Compassion Project connects the community with their unhoused neighbors through weekly cleanups, rebuilding trust in the community while discouraging illegal dumping from outside actors. UCP hosts weekly resource distributions, partnering with local business leaders to connect people who are unhoused with clothes, hygiene items, haircuts, and hot meals. We advocate for the communities we engage with and work to link individuals with housing services if requested.
Your donation makes it possible to continue the work we are doing in the community and goes toward operations costs, food, housing assistance, transportation, and events.
Vincent Williams began Urban Compassion Project in January of 2021, with just a few friends and a box of hefty trash bags. They started by cleaning up trash and debris from illegal dumping, including furniture, mattresses, and bags of trash left near encampments of unhoused people. Williams has been housing insecure most of his life and was tired of seeing unhoused members of his community struggle to connect with much-needed resources while also being blamed for the piles of debris.
Rapidly, each cleanup gained more and more volunteers, and now 30 community members on average gather with Williams each Saturday to clean up trash and meet their unhoused neighbors. This work connects people who are unhoused with their housed neighbors, building trust and community, while empowering those who are unhoused to care for their spaces around Oakland. Additionally, by cleaning up illegal dumping and helping people who are unhoused to maintain their spaces, Urban Compassion Project discourages continued dumping—the less trash in an area, the less likely people are to add trash to it.
Williams speaks directly with unhoused residents of an area where cleanup has occurred, taking requests for other unhoused groups that could benefit from cleanup services, and confirming if the community would like a follow-up cleanup on another day. Sometimes the work needed can’t be accomplished in a single morning, as volunteer cleanups generally run between 9 am and 1 pm. The key distinction to Urban Compassion Project’s work is that by partnering with unhoused people in the area, volunteers ensure that no personal belongings are damaged or thrown away—a level of respect not present in police sweeps or city evictions.
And cleanups are only one facet of the work Urban Compassion Project does on a strictly volunteer basis. Williams does not take a salary, working other jobs while organizing weekly resource distributions, connecting individuals with transitory services as requested, and in some cases, ensuring individuals released from healthcare centers have a safe place to go.
Your donation contributes to:
Weekly cleanups across the city of Oakland
Trash bags, shovels, rakes, safety gloves, masks, and bins for cleanups
Storage and truck rentals needed for regular resource distribution
Healthcare and mental health services for individuals
Linking individuals who request it with wraparound services for housing and other careFollow us on IG @urbancompassionproject