California official offers proposal to house homeless on a cruise ship

An Oakland, Calif., official this week proposed bringing a cruise ship to the city’s port to help house its homeless population.

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan told council members this week she has been contacted by cruise ship companies about providing their vessels for emergency housing, which she said could take up to 1,000 homeless people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The homeless population in the city has risen from 1,902 to 3,210 in the past two years. 


“Maybe we can have a way to create a thousand housing units overnight,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan said the plan, which could be introduced in January, would be at “no or low” cost to the city since residents of the ships would pay for their rooms based on their income and that the city would not actually be purchasing the ship. 

“It could be a great way to house a lot of people quickly,” Kaplan told the Chronicle. “Cruise ships have been used for emergency housing after natural disasters and for extra housing for things like Olympics.”

Kaplan added that the companies have been inquiring to the Port of Oakland about their options to berth there, but officials have expressed skepticism that such a plan would be viable.

“There isn’t the infrastructure to berth a cruise ship,” Mike Zampa, a spokesman for the port, told the Chronicle, adding that the space is designed for cargo ships. “Safety and security issues at the federally regulated maritime facilities would make residential uses untenable.”

“How do you hook it up to utilities? You can’t have unauthorized personnel walking back and forth through marine terminals — those are federally regulated facilities, you need a badge to get in and out. There is also a lot of big and heavy equipment rumbling over those facilities all day long,” he added.

Cruise ships have been used for emergency housing in the past, including during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. President TrumpDonald TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE also floated the idea earlier this year that such ships could be used as shelters during Hurricane Dorian.