Large group of people shading themselves with identical umbrellas on a sunny day in front of Oakland City Hall.
A resource fair is coming to Frank Ogawa Plaza. Last summer, the county held a "resiliency celebration" for unhoused people on a sweltering day in the plaza. Credit: Natalie Orenstein

Have a cold drink, get a COVID-19 vaccine, and take care of your pup.

The city of Oakland is hosting a free resource fair designed for unhoused people and advocates on Friday. The fair will be followed by a documentary screening inside City Hall.

Outside in Frank Ogawa Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., service organizations will offer free food and drinks, COVID-19 shots, legal help, pet care, books, and connections to social services. 

“This fair is dedicated to supporting our community members facing homelessness,” the city said in an announcement of the event. “Come and discover valuable resources available to assist you or someone you know.” 

Later at 5 p.m., in the council chambers inside City Hall, there will be a screening of the film A Rising Tide, introduced by City Administrator Jestin Johnson and filmmaker Cheryl Fabio. A panel discussion with city officials working on homelessness will follow the screening. Tickets are $20.

The film follows unhoused families in Alameda County as they confront the challenges of homelessness and housing insecurity. Oakland filmmaker Fabio told The Oaklandside in September that she hopes the film will inspire action.

“We must dig deeper into why folks are experiencing homelessness, and we can then address solutions more accurately,” she said. “All of us have a role to play in solving homelessness.” 

The Friday events are the first of several planned to recognize Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, the city said.

Natalie Orenstein covers housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. She was previously on staff at Berkeleyside, where her extensive reporting on the legacy of school desegregation received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal and the Education Writers Association. Natalie’s reporting has also appeared in The J Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and she’s written about public policy for a number of research institutes and think tanks. Natalie lives in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, and has only left her beloved East Bay once, to attend Pomona College.