Society

Oakland Boots Drug-Free Homeless Camp, Drug Camp Stays

| by Michael Allen

A drug-free homeless camp, known as "The Village" or "The Promised Land," was torn down by authorities in Oakland, California, on Feb. 2.

The camp first appeared on an intersection Jan. 21, notes KPIX.

The small but sophisticated camp featured five structures built with plywood and pallets; there were also tents erected for 16 people.

The camp tweeted an aerial picture on Jan. 30 with a caption: "An aerial photo of some of the hard work that's gone into #TheVillage. Join us at Marcus Garvey Park (36th/MLK) #homesnow #feedthepeople."

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Camp organizer Needa Bee said the encampment offered services to hundreds every week.

"[The Village] is a people’s encampment," Bee told KPIX. "The city created that mess over there. I’m disgusted by the mayor and disgusted by the administrator. We actually did something that they were unable to do."

The camp included portable toilets, a hand-washing station, hot shower, basic medical care and food.

Drinking and drugs were banned, which attracted some homeless folks who wanted to get sober. The camp also served as a refuge when other camps in the city were torn down by authorities.

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On Jan. 27, the City of Oakland posted notices of 18 health and safety violations at the camp. The impoverished people were given a 72-hour notice Jan. 30 to get out.

Cops and public works employees arrived on Feb. 2, and demanded the poor people clear out and take their possessions. Personal property that was left behind was tossed into garbage trucks.

Only six blocks away, another homeless camp was allowed to stay up because Oakland officials have deemed it part of their "Compassionate Communities" program, notes the San Francisco Chronicle.

City employees added portable toilets, trash bins and needle containers to that camp, which turned out to have widespread heroin use, unlike the drug-free "Village" that the city tore down.

"Before, it was so drug infested, you couldn’t even walk through here late at night,” Majid Ahmed told the newspaper as he packed up his belongings. "Since we moved here, there has been zero crime and every one of us has got off drugs."

Sources: KPIX, The Village, Oakland/Twitter, San Francisco Chronicle / Photo credit: The Village, Oakland/Twitter

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