A long-time, low-rent community building in East Oakland could become a giant playground for big tech--or stay an affordable, people of color-led social justice center, with your help!
Our landlord is selling the building and unless we raise $75,000 by May 1st to help buy it, the vibrant, tight-knit community members and community resources who share our historic building at 23rd and International could be displaced.
Our mixed-use building contains:
* a community bike shop (The Bikery, part of Cycles of Change)
* a Queer & Trans People Of Color collectively-run house and community garden (SOL - Sustaining Ourselves Locally)
* a martial arts and self-defense studio (Shaolin Life)
* a people of color-led maker/hacker space (LOL - Liberating Ourselves Locally)
and is home to a diverse group of low-income people of color who want to stay in their homes!
Together with community allies and the Oakland Community Land Trust, we have the rare opportunity to buy the building and build a dream of long-term affordable housing and community space.
We intend to make an offer on the building by May 1st.
HELP US STAY, HELP US THRIVE!
Help us stay! By donating, you’ll directly contribute to the fight against gentrification in Oakland. Our building is along a corridor directly slated for gentrification over the next few years, and if it gets sold to a developer we’ll almost certainly face unaffordable rent increases and possibly evictions. Help us thrive!
All of the groups in the building are small community organizations dedicated to serving our community. As we devote time and energy to fighting displacement, we’re also working to:
* keep our bike shop open for more hours each week
* expand our summer garden internship programs, and
* increase the number of intergenerational community safety workshops we can offer to queer and trans people of color in the neighborhood.
By donating, you’ll also be contributing to make sure that Cycles of Change/the Bikery, Sol, and LOL can continue to thrive in this time of transition.
What is this building all about?
The 23rd Ave Community Building is home to many low-income people of color, mostly queer and trans people of color, who want to stay here!
It’s also home base for a bunch of groups serving communities of color:
* Cycles of Change’s Bikery is a community bike shop that trains youth of color in the neighborhood on safe bike riding and bike repair, gets them out into nature, and gives them opportunities to earn and build their own bikes!
* Oakland SOL is a queer and trans people of color food justice co-op. They run a community garden program that teaches critical organic gardening skills and political education to our neighbors.
* Liberating Ourselves Locally is a queer and trans people of color -centered maker space for social justice. Sewing, 3D printing, tech coding,...--they give tools and training to our community, all by donation.
* Peacock Rebellion is a queer and trans people of color arts and healing institute. Their Brouhaha program trains trans people of color to use comedy to heal from violence.
* Shaolin Life is a martial arts studio primarily serving our neighborhood’s communities of color
What happens if you don't raise enough money to make an offer or you are outbid?
If the building goes to market, there's no way we can compete with the likes of Big Tech.
But good news:
Our landlord is a long-time supporter of our organizations' work. If we can pull together the money to buy the building, she won't put it on the market!
Also good news: Many people are coming together to contribute, from donations to loans, and Oakland Community Land Trust, POC Sustainable Housing Network and Sustainable Economies Law Center are working closely with us to help make this happen.
We’re putting together financing for the bulk of the purchase and expect to be able to buy the building. But if we can’t, we believe the rents will surge and push us out of our homes. We don’t know what will happen then. Right now we’re focusing on our dream of buying the building.
Does the building really only cost $75,000?
We’ve begun discussions with the landlord and will continue price negotiations after we conduct building inspections and other due diligence work.
Our close partners at the Oakland Community Land Trust, POC Sustainable Housing Network, Sustainable Economies Law Center and Northern California Community Loan Fund are doing extensive work to ensure we have a realistic financing package of loans, while we raise $75,000 toward initial costs in this first phase of acquiring the building.
How will the money be spent?
On a beach house in Tahiti.
Buying a building together as a community has so many components: Building inspections, assessments, consulting fees and staff time for the lead organizers doing this work are part of the necessary due diligence and sustainability work--including the sustainability of the low-income queer and trans organizers of color working hard to put all this together.
Whether your donation goes toward ensuring our building can survive an earthquake or survive pouring rain, it all works toward the cause of protecting this space for future QTPOC generations.
How will the money be used if buying the building falls through?
The money raised in this crowdfunding campaign goes to pre-development costs--things like building inspections, assessments, consulting, and stipends to the lead community organizers working to protect this building. We want to do our due diligence with a purchase of this scale, and we want to pay people for their time.
Much of that work happens before an actual purchase. But if another entity buys the building and rent surges like it has across the Bay Area, any money left over would be split to support short-term rent during a potential rent surge, while tenants look for more sustainable housing options and the organizations look to move elsewhere.
How will this fight gentrification and Big Tech?
We're in Oakland’s Lower San Antonio district on the International Blvd corridor, slated to be massively gentrified in the next few years. A certain giant search engine company just poured massive cash into buildings down the street from us at Fruitvale Bart.
We have the chance to keep a set of QTPOC community spaces and affordable housing off the real estate market long-term through a land trust--ensuring that, even if some current neighbors move away in the next few decades, QTPOC communities as a whole will be protected here for the long-haul. This is part of the legacy we want to leave behind--we want QTPOC to stay in Oakland. We want to thrive.