Not only do teachers and administrators struggle to bring quality education to the students at Oakland Carter Academy, but they also have to fight through hordes of vagrants and homeless people camping out on the school’s doorstep. Over the last two years, this Oakland, California home has watched as more and more homeless people pitch tents in front of the school until the camp became a shantytown that is now very hard to get rid of.
The camp of homeless people on the East Oakland street is filled with dirty tents, cardboard and plywood houses, and people living out of their cars. The school once had just two tents with homeless people living in them. That was not such a big issue given the homelessness crisis in Oakland. But in the last two years, things have gotten astronomically worse. Now the homeless population in the makeshift shanty town threaten the safety of the 250 students who attend the middle school.
Homeless people flocked to Bond Street when they realized that some people were getting away with pitching tents in front of the Oakland Carter Academy. Although the tents and shanty homes are just steps from the entrance to the school, these vagrants did not care if they put the lives of the children in danger. With drug abuse and violence, a mainstay of the transient community, children are exposed to danger every single day they walk into school.
Right now Bond Street is home to about twenty tarp-covered homes. They are right next to the school and across a fence from local residents – the type of residents who pay their taxes. Just two years ago, there were only two tiny tents pitched in the area.
As of January 2019, Oakland has 4,071 homeless people in the city limits. Over the last two years, that number has increased by 47 percent. With rising rent prices and taxes spilling over the bay from San Francisco and Silicon Valley into Oakland, wealthy white professionals are moving into Oakland and displacing the original residents. Sometimes this results in homelessness as the bills become too large to stay up with.
While homelessness is a city-wide problem, the homeless camp near the school is a safety issue. That’s why councilman Noel Gallo is demanding action. He said that if the city does not move the homeless camp, they are breaking the law.
“I just want to make sure that our kids are safe and that their parents feel comfortable letting their kids walk to school,” Principal Lucas Kelleher said. “Kids have seen fights break out, kids have seen a lot of bizarre events during recess, and during gym classes.”
Locals living on the block are also demanding that the city act.
“I can’t have dinner parties anymore, I can’t have barbecues anymore,” a neighbor said. “They’ve gone up to our children – in our backyard – and they’ve asked for money.”
Instead of doing something, residents said the city set up porta-potties on Bond Street. That will only draw more people to this vagrant camp.
What do you think Oakland should do about this homeless camp near the school?
Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.