Homeless Man Lost Millions Now Running for Mayor of Oakland, California

– [Mark] Derek, we’re here in Oakland. We’re at a city-sanctioned tent community that basically you founded and oversee. – Yes. – [Mark] Well first let’s talk about your homelessness and
how you ended up homeless because you have a very interesting story. – Yeah, it was a interesting
road getting here. I worked for over 20 years with the United States
Department of Defense as a classified contractor, had developed some health
issues because of my work, forced into retirement in 2007. I was a multimillionaire. I had plenty of money to retire on, so I was fine with
retiring and I was only 47. And so I bought a home in North Carolina on a beautiful lake. Two and a half months later, my financial institution
went bankrupt overnight, no warning (sighs) and it was devastating. – [Mark] You lost a lotta money, and for those of you watching this video that don’t believe him,
I’ve seen the picture. Just the picture of his boat
alone, this man had money. – I had three boats, I had
a home here in Oakland, a million dollar home here in Oakland, and I bought a half-million
dollar home in North Carolina. – [Mark] And we should
clarify, this is years ago. Because a million dollar home in Oakland probably ain’t work much these days. – No, that’s a fixer upper. (laughs)
– Right. – But I had a home here in one
of the most prestigious parts of Oakland, the Grand Lake area. That home was a family home, it was built by my great-grandfather. Not built by him, but he commissioned it. And it was in the family the whole time until I retired and
moved to North Carolina. – [Mark] My heart breaks for you because I lost everything
in the ’08 crash, but I didn’t have millions. – Yeah, and I didn’t see anything coming. I had a backup plan to work back there in case things kinda went south and when things go beyond
what your backup plan can do, I was literally left with
little to no options. I had about $6,000 in my
local checking account, got by for a little while by renting, or not renting, but taking
a title loan out on my boat that I had back there. Ended up losing that because,
again, there was no work. Back then, here in the Bay Area, we would see one page of foreclosures, out there where I was it
was three newspaper pages of foreclosures everyday so– – [Mark] Yeah, when I first
hit the economic crash, they weren’t yet saying the R-word. – Mm-hm. – [Mark] So I wish I had known ’cause I woulda walked
away from the house. Instead, I was paying the mortgage, the electric bill, food on my credit card, so when my house finally
went into foreclosure I had this tremendous credit card debt and so I lost the house anyways. So we try to struggle and survive and we just crash into homelessness. – We did the exact same thing. I had plenty of credit back then. I had the boat, took out the title loan, got a $25,000 title loan on the boat and I was hoping to pay that off ’cause I didn’t wanna lose the boat. Had some work promised, but
then because of the time those jobs fell through and
I fell into homelessness. I came back to the Bay Area, my dad was able to allow me
to move back into his home. Just a short time later, he collapsed with
colon-rectal cancer one night and by the time I found out what he had, they said he only had six months to live and it was a complete shock to me because I wasn’t aware that
my dad was that severely ill ’cause he hid that, he hid it from me. And he survived about
another year and a half. He had some medical insurance because he worked in the shipyards and the federal government, but it wasn’t enough to
cover his assisted living. Assisted living for
him was $3,800 a month, that was 2010 up through
2011 and when he passed away. So $3,800 every month. His medical insurance covered about $1,500 and then he had on-going medical issues that had to be dealt with regularly, plus transport to the
hospital for treatments. And then in his final week of life, he wasn’t even mentally
around in his final week, so it was very devastating. And then the court taking the home from me and that put me out on
the street, literally, ’cause I just grabbed
whatever I was able to salvage from the home because the
court gave an eviction notice, I had a certain amount of time to clear the house of
everything and be gone. (motorcycle engine revs) And so I did that. I sofa-surfed with a lotta
friends up until April of 2013. Went into the shelter up the street, EOCP, East Oakland Community Project, also known as Crossroads,
stayed there for 91 days. They gave me access to a housing list. Housing list was only
available through that shelter and so we didn’t know that
nobody else had access to it, so I did manage to find a slumlord and I had a voucher for
money that would pay my rent, including that for my dogs
that I had at the time. So that was the hardest part, finding anybody who would
accept a homeless person and had pets. All of my advocates that
worked with me at the shelter told me, “You gotta give the dogs up.” – [Mark] Right, right. That’s a huge issue. – Those dogs had been with
me since they were puppies, they’re like you’re children. You can’t give them up. But people say, “Well,
you gotta make a choice, “it’s your dogs or housing.” – [Mark] So you found a slumlord and that didn’t work out well. – That didn’t work out too well. She didn’t wanna fix the problems. Instead, how she fixed her problem was by evicting me in a record 20 days. – [Mark] So then you tented right here. – I came out here.
– By yourself. – Yep. In fact, my first place wasn’t the tent. It was literally behind a hedge,
sandwiched between a plant and the wall of a
building right behind you. Quite literally, ’cause
that was my first year and it took them two weeks to find me I was so well hidden inside of that hedge that they couldn’t see me. The guards here didn’t know I was here, nobody knew I was here. – [Mark] Stealth camping. – Stealth camping.
– I have a homeless friend that calls it stealth camping. – And the other thing
was, was that this area was one of Oakland’s premiere
dumping grounds (chuckles) and so I had plenty of
materials to choose from. A lot of materials were brand new. I had contractors dumping
off brand new insulation, plywood, plastic, I had couches. So there was all sorts
of items to choose from to create my shelter and my home. And then in 2015 when
I was diagnosed myself with colon-rectal cancer, I
ended up moving from there and then starting the tent
because during my recovery period I needed a place to not
only be able to lay out for long periods of times, but
also have my friends help me to do the daily things
that I needed to do, like getting water–
– And you were still homeless? – And I’m still homeless. – [Mark] No respite care? – No, no respite care. Spent six days in the hospital. They knew I was homeless. They had a case worker
from City of Oakland and also social services
trying to find me housing before they released me. – [Mark] There’s just no housing? – There was no housing. – [Mark] So then, ’cause I pick on you, ’cause you were here by yourself and then people start seeing ya. – Yep.
– You gotta hide better. You stopped hiding good, I guess. – I stopped hiding really well– – [Mark] So it grew– – And people just started moving
in, becoming my neighbors, and we got to know each other. We started a community. Literally, we started a community. We watched out for each
other, we shared food, we barbecued together. At night, we’d have security. We would come up with
things for each of us to do, duties, assignments, things that would help further the group. – [Mark] Yeah, yeah. I mean, so there’s 35
people that live here. I don’t know if that’s changed. – Nope, that seems to be a
pretty constant number here. 35 is comfortable. There are days that we
may run a little low and then some days a little higher. – [Mark] And several of the people, I think about half, work. – Yep, mostly people work here. They go to jobs Monday through Saturday. Some have restaurant
jobs, some work at gyms, we used to have a UPS driver here. I mean, a full-blown
UPS driver was homeless and that says a lot, how crazy housing is, if a fellow who’s making
good money as a UPS driver can’t afford to rent an apartment here in the town that he works in. That’s insane. And so have grandmothers here,
we have young adults here, we fill the whole gamut. – [Mark] So you told me how
you got city sanctioned. And what that means is the
City provides Porta Potties, they pick up trash, there’s a hand washing
station provided the City. They know you’re here, the
police aren’t gonna harass you. But how it happened was you were cleaning up the
trash and the City noticed and said, “What’s goin’ on here?” – Well, this isn’t normal. Normally homeless people make the trash, they don’t clean it up. (chuckles) And I got the taggers moved
on, so we removed the taggers. We used to have a lot of crime down here, where cars were being stolen and stripped. That no longer exists. We used to have a lotta johns and prostitutes here throughout
the night, we don’t– – [Mark] It was just a bad area. – Yeah, it was just a
horrible, horrible situation and police weren’t coming here, so that’s what originally brought me here was that there was a lack of
anybody supervising the area. And so I set up shop and
then I didn’t want the crime and so I set out to clean it
up and then everybody noticed. – [Mark] And then the City
came in and sanctioned ya. – The City came in and said,
“We like what you’re doing. “You’re not causing a problem,
you’re solving problems “and we wanna help you.” – [Mark] And recently Invisible People sent a reporter here.
– Mm-hm. – [Mark] One thing I was proud of, that I was able to send a reporter into a tent camp to do a positive story and that got all the way to the City. (train rumbles past)
– Yeah, the City. – [Mark] And sure, BART
goes by right when it, you know, thank you BART. – Mm-hm. – [Mark] How do you guys sleep here? – Well, after a while you
just get get used to it and then the other thing
is, at midnight BART stops. – [Mark] Oh, okay. – BART stops at midnight. – [Mark] Then in the morning,
it’s like alarm clock. – And it starts up again, our first train is about
5:30 in the morning. – [Mark] So anyways, the story got to the
City officials somehow. And I didn’t sent it to ’em, so– – And the city council (BART train rumbling) actually, how the city council got that was that myself and my collective group, we have contacts
throughout the city council and also folks that are in
touch with the city council, and so we gave them the website to– – [Mark] Okay, so you sent it to ’em. – We personally sent that it to ’em. Look at this. Look at this. – [Mark] I was also wondering how they, I didn’t know if they
were trolling me or not. – Well, that one you can thank
your new friend Sam Spade. Sam Spade actually sent
that to Libby Schaaf. – [Mark] Well, thank you Sam. – And Sam sent it to a
few city council people and then the city council saw that and then it just went from there. – [Mark] And you guys, they assigned you a housing coordinator. – Yes, and then it was about a week later the city administrators came
down here, spoke with me, said, “We’re gonna give you a
brand new housing coordinator “to help you with housing.” So that’s where we’ve been now– – [Mark] But there is no housing? – There isn’t any housing. That’s the unfortunate part. So we have a lotta people
that we’ve prioritized. We’ve been able to get some folks who needed to get off the street, we got them off the
street, thank goodness, because hospice issues. Literally hospice. So City’s been very cooperative
in assisting us with that, getting those folks into housing, but then as housing becomes more available we wanna get everybody
here into something. – [Mark] And you’re trying to do something a little more. I hear you’re gonna make a bid for mayor? – Yes. (laughs) I’m actually running for City
of Oakland mayor in 2022. Things are going really well right now. I’m really happy with the progress, my message is getting out there. A lotta folks are
starting to be made aware of all the property that
Oakland actually has to build something and get
the folks off the streets. There’s on there, that’s been
garnering a lot of interest is the 159 acres that was
returned back to Oakland about 30 years ago from
the federal government and Oakland turned down
a $350 million offer from the Wayans Brothers back in 2007 to build a production studio there. So that gives you an idea how
greedy the City of Oakland is and on top of selling it,
they want huge tax dollars in the form of the property tax. – [Mark] But you propose that you could do something like this, a sanctioned tent city– – We can put together a
community of tiny homes, container homes, tents,
and then also RV parking because there’s more than enough room to take at least half
the folks off the street and get ’em into some
temporary transitional housing, longterm transitional
housing because right now the City only talks about
short-term transitional housing, which is six months. Six months, you’re just getting
started on the road to– – [Mark] Nobody can gets their life back in six months.
– Yeah, you can’t. You can’t, it’s impossible. And so we’re talking about a longterm, sustainable model for
folks in West Oakland. And it’s gotten a lot
of interest and then– – [Mark] Well, I wish I lived here so I could vote for you. – (chuckles) I wish I had
more folks like yourself that understand the situation and the needs for all the
housing that could be available, but the City is choosing
profits over people. – [Mark] Well, I’ve interrupted you for almost two weeks now. – It’s been a pleasure. – [Mark] Yeah, I think we
did a couple live streams, we did some feeding, gave away from socks, recorded some videos. I’ve been saying for,
gosh, since I met you that someday I gotta
come visit and here I am. – And here you are. – [Mark] So I just wanna thank ya so much for allowing me to interrupt your week, allowing me to get to meet some of the people in your community. – It’s been quite a pleasure having you. It’s been fun learning
about what you do, Mark. – [Mark] So, I gotta ask. You know this is coming ’cause you watch and you help us out with
our online support group. So, Derek is an admin and he’s homeless and I would not have something
to do with homelessness without homeless people involved. So, you knew this was coming,
you might even be prepared. What’s your three wishes?
(Derek laughs) – Housing, housing, and more housing. – [Mark] You did prepare. – I am prepared.
– You were ready, you were waiting for me. – And that’s what I plan on bringing when I become mayor in 2022, housing, housing, and more housing. – [Mark] Great. Really great spending the week with you. – It’s been a pleasure having you, Mark. And you’re always welcome to come back. – [Mark] I’m thinking you
gotta make me a spot here. – Mm-hm, that’s not a problem. – [Mark] ‘Cause I can’t afford
any of the rent around here. (Derek laughs) – I can make a spot right there. – [Mark] There you go. Well, when you become mayor,
I’ll just take over yours. – Yeah. – The mayor can’t live–
– I’ll just have you on the sofa–
– In a tent city, right? – No, mayor gets to sleep
on the sofa in his office. – [Mark] Ah! – And then I’ll have a
sofa next to that for you. – [Mark] Cool. (echoing tonal electronic music) (chiming)

100 thoughts on “Homeless Man Lost Millions Now Running for Mayor of Oakland, California”

  1. The good news is in the time since I recorded this interview, Derrick qualified for a new program funded by Kaiser Permanente. Any day now he'll be moving into housing. A few weeks back, gangs broke into Derricks tent and he lost everything again. The housing program will help with rent for a year while Derrick gets back on his feet but he has nothing for his new apartment. If you'd like to help, please click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1rf0a5m640

  2. I was afraid that this would happen to me so I bought a small farm. Bought some goats and chickens and planted some vegetables and fruit bearing plants. Best decision of my life. Don't forget to plant medicinal plants that would cure most common sickness. People should live like how nature intended them, growing and tending your own food to be self sufficient.

  3. Bet he was gambling on the stock market. My Great-Aunt Mary always said, keep your savings in US Savings Bonds. Not laughing at this guy, not at all. But keep in mind, US Savings Bonds or under the mattress.

  4. I’m a wealthy man myself, but I learned over time that the material possessions don’t matter ! I’ve had Maserati’ s , Mercedes Benz , clothes and homes . I have two homes , one in Hollywood and then my main residence in Miami Beach . I have two cars one being a F 150 and my cruise car is my S 550 Benz . And on the coast ; I just got a 6 series BMW . And all this will be downsized to more of normal living type cars .! I have no boats , no expensive jewelry or clothes except a few suites for business .

    This type of buying is insane and its all ego feeding bullshit ! I know because I went through it , but I’m really honest with it . But it’s Not to put him down. It’s just reality .. I grew up poor and I thought being rich is where it’s at . But
    It’s not all the time .

    What I like and learned to enjoy is the freedom , traveling and discovering new cultures to learn from ., one day I am selling my home in LA and I just might buy a kick ass place in Japan .

    But maybe we are two different men with two different minds and two different stories To tell

    Wish him best of luck!!

  5. This is a Lesson to us ALL, how close we are to being Homeless.
    Its Taxes and property regulations that create the homeless. Don't vote for Luxury fantasies where all your pay check goes on Rent and Toll Roads and HOA's.
    The Best of Luck to this Man. 🙏🇺🇸

  6. i havent finished the video, but dont financial institutions have FDIC insurance of at least 250,000 if something like that happens?

  7. So let me understand this u have three houses but I didn't pay cash for them so they were not yours and why get three houses….. no he was making monthly payments for three house but if he only get one house at the beginning this problem would not happen….

  8. Yep USA they may be rich but people are working poor and no one can move up the ladder to being more stable financially and its really sad so sad California used to be the Golden State now I feel like the the broken state ironic

  9. What about FDIC? It would not have totally reimburse his savings but they had to give him something. And why did the court take his father's house? It should have been his inheritance.

  10. I get this because I got decimated in the tech bubble of 2000-2001 and lost gobs of money. THEN my remaining savings got wiped out by 2 E.R. visits and an unexpected major operation. I could have been a millionaire by now but instead I'm struggling.

  11. what institution went bankrupt and took his fortune with them,,was it a bank or a finacial institution that was investing his money for him,,,which one was it

  12. Inflation constantly makes everything more expensive. Every time gasoline goes up to record high prices for whatever reason, it never goes back down or rarely will go back to the previous lower price. Just like that, everything else goes up little by little, never goes back down. Minimum wage does NOT go up every time obviously and it has NOT kept up with inflation. if it had kept up with the rising prices, it would be at between 30 and 40 dollars an hour. The rich keep getting richer and pay cash so they actually pay less than someone who has to be financed and has to pay ridiculous interest. Be it a car or a house, the rich person pays cash and gets a better deal. If things don't change for the better soon, society will slowly start to become more violent. I could go on and on but I am getting frustrated again. Something isn't right folks, we need to figure out exactly what it is so we can correct this course.

  13. Somebody made a comment that it was the Democrats were ridiculous for coding rushed limbaugh
    I presume

    It’s Rich against poor

    against non-corporate

  14. I wonder why he moved to North Carolina.  Isn't it better for him to find housing there in North Carolina because the housing cost is cheaper?

  15. I'm next. lack of employment, some mental health issues… My concern is for my 14 year old who has no other relatives other than me. I don't wanna drag her thru the mud with me but it's also a far better option than foster care. Fingers crossed….

  16. alot of pepo that at a time have the money resources to live well but they don't bother to use that money to make more money and have some kind of flow financially in the future. They just spend and think it's gonna be like that the rest of their lives and then BOOM! something happens and it's all gone! one has to think bout their future and if happens and have the money DON'T spend it put it to WORK! where it will make more! but most just borrow and have to pay and pay and pay ! this man borrowed. $25,000 but didnt really get into what it went for and the most imortant thing to him was a boat? not his future? well not having a good plan helped get him homeless , he was getting retirement well what happened to that? he sold homes he had well what happened to that money? Theres alot of info left out on this story so seems that he created his situation by what was said.

  17. I’m sorry I’m poor so I just live on what I make every month but I don’t understand so he was only worth $6000 and the rest of it was not real. And why in the world would you not sell your homes and your boat if you saw this happening and supposedly lost millions of dollars allegedly.. and the last thing I’m gonna say and then I’ll shut up is you can get a job at target you can get a job at Whole Foods you can work at a grocery store a dry cleaners a fast food restaurant so you could work anywhere and he can’t be that handicap. I would rather have an efficiency apartment or rent a room then be homeless.. and I don’t have an education but I don’t understand how somebody could put their faith and money in an institution that can take their money why not have half of what you supposedly have and keep it in the bank where it’s safe and secure? Shirley that seems smarter to me but I don’t know much…

  18. I don't get it. If he was a multi-millionaire, didn't he pay for his house in full coverage when he first bought it? And how does loosing investment can affect to loose boats, house, and so on??? Forgive if my question would offense anyone.

  19. This gentleman situation is the direct result of employee mindset…can’t think as a businessman to get off the street.Very sad 😞

  20. Anyone here check out Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang's platform? especially his proposal of Freedom Dividend aka Universal Basic Income. I know $1000 a month is not enough to live in Oakland but in other parts of country that would help a lot.  Register and Vote.

  21. I am not trying to bash this man and I believe he has been through a lot. But I honestly don't understand, how a multi millionaire becomes homeless. Was it the medical bills? I am sure as a multi millionaire awning three boats he surely must have invested in some real estate that he fully owned. Can someone please explain this phenomenon because I don't get it.

  22. He still looks physically healthy as a homeless person.
    I'm working as a truck driver on 1099 pay, struggling half to death to pay everything. I average 1k per week, it's not enough for a family of four, and I live in an affordable city in Michigan, in equal op housing. I've been driving about 9yrs now, and have only saved about 4k, im always in fear, knowing one incident will wipe out my savings. I can barely afford a car and auto insurance is out the question. This way of living today is mentally draining

  23. I have no sympathy for this fool. How does one go from owning over 1.5 million in hard assets to being homeless just because his bank went bankrupt? Stupidity is how… He put too many eggs in one basket. What a fool!

  24. Sounds like he had leveraged himself way too much to buy multiple houses, and a boat, and then lost it in the great recession. He seems fairly intelligent though and should be easily hirable, but has gotten caught in the homelessness cycle instead.

  25. Tragic situation, so go get another job, if he’s telling the truth he would be able to get a highly paid position pretty much anywhere. Obviously he has some mental issues. Life’s hard and doesn’t give a sh!t about your dogs.



  27. God bless you man it really warms my heart knowing people still genuinely care about other's 💓life is tough glad you spread there stories very motivational.

  28. Kinda hard for me to believe he couldn’t find a decent job with his experience. I mean maybe not what he was doing but not something that makes 45K a year? I’m assuming he has education. I mean I could understand a couple years of work with the recession but why not at the time of the video??

  29. If your fault I don't feel sorry for you!! Why the hell did you buy 500 thousands house in NC, then million dollar house in Oakland during your retirement! That is just plain stupid!!!

  30. Disgusting how corporations get away with this but don't pay a parking ticket & see what happens. America used to be the land of opportunity. You won't see any new family owned delis or hardware stores opening up anytime soon. They just keep taking more away every year. They'll be the rich & poor, middle class won't exist in another 10 yrs or so. I had a guy swipe my mirror off while I was parked in a 711 (he was backing out) 3 yrs ago. My auto Insurance was raised 100 dollars for this! I wasn't even driving happened to walk out when it occurred. Veteran, they could care less. This type of stuff happens everyday to hard working regular people & it's fucking shameful that we continually allow it to happen

  31. Well just because you can’t find the work you use to do there is McDonald’s,pizza huts etc.I mean some job is better than none. I would find another person in same position both working y’all can get a place now please. If that city is that bad then go to another state where housing and work is better. Why keep living like you are??

  32. Good luck on winning the mayor position. Trillions of dollars to bomb innocent people but no money for these people. I hope everybody can wake up in time. Learn from some of the great teachers like Ron Paul, Mark Passio, Jeff Berwick and many others. Thanks for the vid.

  33. Was his bank not insured? He must’ve kept all his money in one account – that’s only usually insured up to I think 250k…? Anywho, he should be able to find stable employment. Sounds smart.

  34. Our government won't help the straight white man who has been a contributing citizen all his life.but our government will give you handouts if you are a certain color alright immigrant from another who wouldn't do nothing to help out America.

  35. This is why you need multiple banks with no one balance exceeding the depositor insurance provided in that countries jurisdiction. If you have millions you need an offshore bank account since many offshore bank accounts are much much safer and responsible than American banks (unfortunately American banks don't have a good track record of being responsible) as well as insured by that countries depositor insurance. Also, you need to buy a safe house with no mortgage and a low property tax for extremely bad situations like his. Also, if you have lots of cash real estate rentals are by far the best balance of safety and return. I know many people, especially retirees with 401K's or IRA's don't think about these things. So I don't blame him, but for anyone coming into money don't think you're safe and protected by just putting it in one bank account and kicking back on a boat.

  36. I'm grateful for what I have in my life. There's many unfortunate people out here struggling and still have a smile. Never judge a book by its cover. May god be with us all.

  37. Perhaps the city will set ip showers and laundry. A small second hand store could help fund it. Here in Talkeetna Alaska i live in my car at the park same story housing too expensive food is outrageous and fuel costs high.

    We need warming centers here but our Governor is all about cutting homeless services.

    We need leaders who have lived in camps like we do as a requirement to take office.

    Good luck with your campaign and the stink eyes.

    Remember we scare the well healed not because we are dangerous, but because they are terrified of joining us.

    Yang has it right perhaps Uncle Don will make a difference now he is paying attention

  38. Interesting story. I wandered by having so many assets, how much debt was he in before bad luck hit him. I know he said his bank went under however, I’ve always been taught not to keep all of your money in one place (banks) or in stocks…just saying. Sorry to have heard his Dad passing. I wander if he had life insurance policy. Most parents usually do just to make sure after final expenses, there is something left for the kids… just saying… I believe everyone deserves a second chance on their finances..hopefully he has learned something from this and don’t over extend himself again…I mean everyone deserves to be happy but, 3 boats 2-3 homes, just the up keep will put you in debt just saying. Good luck and wishing him the best!

  39. Don't trust in material things. Trust in the Lord Yahshua and you 'll gain everlasting life and treasures in Heaven that could neither be taken by thiefs or eaten my moths.



  42. I'm not sure I might be real old school but if I couldn't buy it I shouldn't own it… credit sucks don't do it. I hope I don't regret saying that and end up like our friends here period.

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