A House in Oakland

I recently published a feature article on Narratively about a crew of graffiti writers who tore down billboards all over Oakland, CA which they then repurposed as handmade tents for the homeless. The tent were distributed at the Northgate homeless encampment on Valentine's Day. My photos from that day, below. 

Two weeks ago on Valentine's Day a group of activists and graffiti artists banded together to distribute tents and flowers to the Northgate homeless community in Oakland, CA. Evelyn, pictured here, is a Northgate resident who has been homeless for over 10 years. "I had my own place, but my ex-husband stabbed me eight times, so I lost everything and I haven't been able to regroup," she says.

Two weeks ago on Valentine's Day a group of activists and graffiti artists banded together to distribute tents and flowers to the Northgate homeless community in Oakland, CA. Evelyn, pictured here, is a Northgate resident who has been homeless for over 10 years. "I had my own place, but my ex-husband stabbed me eight times, so I lost everything and I haven't been able to regroup," she says.

The tents were made from repurposed billboard vinyls. PEMEX (pictured), a prominent Bay Area graffiti writer, and his crew partnered with the activist collective Indecline for the project. Indecline gained national media attention for their series of naked Trump statues last year. Together they tore down a number of billboard vinyls across Oakland and repurposed them into handmade tents for the homeless. They call the project, "A House in Oakland."

The tents were made from repurposed billboard vinyls. PEMEX (pictured), a prominent Bay Area graffiti writer, and his crew partnered with the activist collective Indecline for the project. Indecline gained national media attention for their series of naked Trump statues last year. Together they tore down a number of billboard vinyls across Oakland and repurposed them into handmade tents for the homeless. They call the project, "A House in Oakland."

In a Robin Hood-like gesture, the group was selective about which billboards they cut down, intentionally targeting big businesses like Chase Bank and Budweiser. On Valentine's Day they loaded the tents into a U-Haul and drove them to the Northgate residents who were told to expect the delivery.

In a Robin Hood-like gesture, the group was selective about which billboards they cut down, intentionally targeting big businesses like Chase Bank and Budweiser. On Valentine's Day they loaded the tents into a U-Haul and drove them to the Northgate residents who were told to expect the delivery.

The Northgate encampment is located on Northgate Ave under the I-980 freeway. A sign in the background reads, "Homeless lives matter too."

The Northgate encampment is located on Northgate Ave under the I-980 freeway. A sign in the background reads, "Homeless lives matter too."

Collected bikes parts.

Collected bikes parts.

Drying laundry.

Drying laundry.

Chuck (pictured) is a Northgate resident. He says that he's chosen to live at here so that he can protect his nephew, who also lives at the encampment. "I don’t want to leave him, he’s right next to me," he says. "If I leave him these wolves will tear him up. They done burnt down his tent 2 times."

Chuck (pictured) is a Northgate resident. He says that he's chosen to live at here so that he can protect his nephew, who also lives at the encampment. "I don’t want to leave him, he’s right next to me," he says. "If I leave him these wolves will tear him up. They done burnt down his tent 2 times."

This tent was fashioned from a Budweiser billboard that reads, "You've just struck cold."

This tent was fashioned from a Budweiser billboard that reads, "You've just struck cold."

A tent made from a Chase Bank billboard.

A tent made from a Chase Bank billboard.

A Northgate resident collects found treasures like this framed painting of the ocean. Before becoming homeless he worked for BART where he was responsible for clearing out homeless encampments.

A Northgate resident collects found treasures like this framed painting of the ocean. Before becoming homeless he worked for BART where he was responsible for clearing out homeless encampments.

A Northgate resident collects found treasures like this framed painting of the ocean. Before becoming homeless he worked for BART where he was responsible for clearing out homeless encampments.

A Northgate resident collects found treasures like this framed painting of the ocean. Before becoming homeless he worked for BART where he was responsible for clearing out homeless encampments.

Susan.

Susan.

A dog living at the camp carries a scrap of cloth back to it's owner's tent.

A dog living at the camp carries a scrap of cloth back to it's owner's tent.

Kenny is originally from Ohio. He switched baseball hats for this photo—this Cincinnati Reds cap is his favorite.

Kenny is originally from Ohio. He switched baseball hats for this photo—this Cincinnati Reds cap is his favorite.

The view across Northgate Ave from the tents.

The view across Northgate Ave from the tents.

The Northgate encampment stands in the shadow of a Chase Bank billboard advertisement. The "A House in Oakland" team has left this billboard untouched.

The Northgate encampment stands in the shadow of a Chase Bank billboard advertisement. The "A House in Oakland" team has left this billboard untouched.