Governor Gavin Newsom today issued the following statement regarding the ongoing litigation in Where Do We Go Berkeley v. Caltrans, in which plaintiffs now seek to have the U.S. District Court extend its preliminary injunction that allows people to live at the Ashby-Shellmound encampment located on a Caltrans right-of-way alongside Interstate 80 on the Berkeley-Emeryville border:
“Allowing individuals to live in encampments alongside our highways is not only hazardous but inhumane. Those who argue that the status quo is acceptable leave folks languishing on our roadways to face uncertain, unsafe and overall dire conditions. As a state, we’ve invested unprecedented billions in local governments to provide housing and implement bold, transformative solutions to move people off our streets and into urgently needed services.
“This litigation has significantly slowed our progress in Berkeley by preventing Caltrans from delivering on important efforts aimed at revitalizing California’s streets and public spaces through litter abatement and local beautification projects. It is critical that Caltrans be allowed to continue their vital work, especially in this case, where safer alternative housing had been identified for those currently living at the Ashby-Shellmound encampment. Housing should be left to local municipalities, which have been given more resources and support than ever before to address California’s homelessness crisis.”