California Officials Debate Housing the Homeless Aboard Cruise Ships

The city of Oakland, California is dealing with a serious homelessness problem. One of the solutions that the city is considering is repurposing retired cruise ships to serve as housing for the homeless.

A CBS News report gave some details of the plan. Cruise companies with aging ships that have unserviceable engines are looking to offload them to cities like Oakland, which would then dock them and use them as temporary housing. An Oakland city official who was interviewed about the proposal said that the residents would not be allowed to stay on the ship free of charge, but would rather have to pay for lodging based on a sliding scale. 

The Port of Oakland has come out against the plan, calling it “untenable.” Port officials say that the docks are designed to work cargo ships, not cruise ships. They say that the port’s infrastructure is not set up to accommodate cruise ships and that the attendant safety and security issues that come along with adding a residential use to the port make the plan untenable. 

But due to the homelessness rates in California, city and state officials seem willing to find another location to house the ship if it means putting a dent in the homeless population.