I am a doula, a professional birth assistant. My staff and I have had the honor to provide childbirth education, labor support and family life services to many of the young pregnant and parenting mothers receiving support through Alameda County Social Services.
I have notice a very disturbing trend over the past 2 or so years. More and more of my pregnant and parenting clients are being placed for housing in cities other than the city of their birth Oakland, CA. More and more, my clients are being placed in Hayward, Antioch, and as far away as Fairfield or Sacramento. This make it very challenging and expensive for us, an Oakland based practice to get to our moms when they need us, or at the onset of their labors.
Even more vital than our inconvenience ,is the amazing abuse inflicted upon these young mothers as they are separated from whatever family or support they may have within their communities. Friends, church and even ones social worker are suddenly very far away at a time when support is a key tool to a healthy pregnancy and successful parenting.
This is yet another revolting pattern changing the demographics of the City of Oakland. And it happens because:
1 This city is becoming a very expensive place to live. a young or single mother with a baby, even with a support partner; as many of my clients have, simply cant afford to stay here.
2 Greedy Oakland landlords, no longer feel that they need to participate in subsidized housing programs which would help fund keeping these mommas in their communities. They are fully aware of what the market allows and are a making a killing with no regard for the impact of this thinking upon the community.
3 There is no firm or enforced commitment from this city to ensure that truly low cost housing is made a part of any and all development that takes place in this City to ensure that local citizens have a opportunity to love and rear their children here.
Statistically, young families do very well when they are given caring and knowledgeable support. They do well when that have access to the people places and things that their souls call home…
They do well when their city considers them a priority and puts systems in place to ensure their success and prepares to welcome them as future adults, business operators, home owners, and tax payers.
But Oakland does not such thing, and as a result there is another diaspora of mostly young families of color out of this city to fend for itself. To say that his is shameful is an understatement. And this slow leak of humanity plays of role of in the changing dynamic and demographic of what was once of the most racially diverse cities in this country, Oakland, CA. Black , brown, and poor mothers simply no longer have a home here.