KEY POINTS

  • Oakland city in California wants to use cruise ships to house homeless
  • City leader Rebecca Kaplan calls it an emergency
  • Carnival Miracle to operate cruises from San Diego

A leader in the Californian city Oakland has hit upon a novel idea of using cruise ships to house the city’s homeless people wrought by calamities like storms. 

Rebecca Kaplan, president of the Oakland, California, city council reportedly took inspiration from an article she read on hurricanes. “We say this is an emergency,” Kaplan said about the homelessness issue. 

Kaplan’s idea received a response from many cruise ship companies who contacted her and promised follow up with detailed proposals, the USA Today reported.

Offers include adding at least 1,000 beds on a cruise ship on lease to the city council by early next year. 

Using cruise ships as emergency housing during natural disasters to tackle severe homelessness was defended by Kaplan saying: “It is a human catastrophe,” and the crisis needs to be approached like any other disaster “with all hands on deck.”

Oakland housing issue

Oakland is the largest city in California. The West Coast port city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area is considered the 45th largest city in the United States.

The city has been reeling under an acute housing crisis with tents sprouting up in most of the sidewalks and public parks. At the last count, more than 4,000 homeless people are there showing a 47 percent increase in homelessness since 2017.

The crisis is compounded by the shortage of shelter beds and scarcity of running water and skewed availability of toilets. The housing crisis has also become a health emergency at the city and government levels.

Kaplan knows many cruise lines changing systems or docking in nearby places as options to provide affordable housing at a low-cost. She has experience of working with the Bay Area Air Quality Control Board.

A quarter of America’s homeless people live in California, Fox News reported. Other than Oakland the crisis is escalating in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Many smaller cities are also affected by the homeless population in the state.

The other day, Lancaster city announced curbs on feeding food in public places.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said handing out food in public streets, parking lots sidewalks, and all city-owned property will be banned. Critics slammed it as a blow to the homeless.  GettyImages-Cruise Ship The Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Sky cruise ship sails out of its port on October 12, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. Photo: Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Carnival Miracle cruise from San Diego

Meanwhile, coinciding with the holiday season, the Carnival Miracle began voyages out of San Diego. This is the first time the Carnival Cruise ship is making a presence in the San Diego port in the last seven years, per Cruise Radio.

In this Carnival cruise deal a variety of trips are on offer, ranging from weekend getaways to 15-day Hawaii cruises until mid-February, 2020, the report said.