PLEASE READ FIRST: We have started a new fundraising page because Gofundme is now matching donations up to $300k for covid-19 response efforts. Please donate to the new page so that your donations can have double the impact. We will continue to post updates there. New page here
During this critical time when we are trying to prevent the spread of covid-19 and protect our loved ones, we also have to rally around to support the unhoused people in our communities. Right now, over 5,000 people in Berkeley and Oakland are experiencing homelessness.
People who live in tent encampments are at higher-risk of getting the virus because they live in close quarters and lack hygiene resources. Also, the disease is more likely to be life-threatening for them due to poor nutrition, chronic health conditions, and lack of access to health care.
The Berkeley Outreach Coalition (BOC) is a team of community orgs that have come together to provide material support to unhoused communities. BOC includes the Berkeley Free Clinic, Berkeley NEED, Berkeley Copwatch, East Bay Angels, Homeless Action Center, and the Suitcase Clinic. This fundraiser started as an effort to purchase and distribute handwashing stations to encampments because the cities of Berkeley and Oakland were failing to install sufficient numbers of stations and to maintain them. We have spent $3,000 on hand washing station construction, distribution, and maintenance. 9 stations have been installed, and 15 more are in the works.
Our efforts have since expanded in response to the changing needs and requests from encampments. We have spent ~$5,000 on tents because many people currently do not have their own tent in which to self-isolate. We have spent $2,000 on other hygiene supplies, including hand sanitizer bottles, water bottles, food, Tylenol, cold medicine, socks, masks, gloves, informational fliers, harm reduction supplies, etc. There is a huge shortage of tents right now, and the funds we currently have are not enough to meet that need.
Our healthcare system and local governments are nearly stretched to the limit due to this epidemic, so it is up to each one of us to make sure our neighbors have the resources they need to protect themselves. In times like these, it is more important than ever to practice radical compassion and love.
Please support our efforts by donating. Anything helps! I (Laura) am a volunteer at the Berkeley Free Clinic. The funds raised will be withdrawn by Cora Leigh Moss, the bookkeeper at the BFC and will go directly into the BFC's bank account. All of the funds raised will be used to supplies for encampments.