Growing concern over Oakland homeless encampment near school

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An expanding homeless encampment in East Oakland has triggered frustration and anger, but for the people living on the streets, it's all they have. 

"We have no other place to go. We don't need the hassle of being ostracized and looked at, as we're just homeless bums because we're not," says Rob who lives in the encampment. 

More than a dozen tents and abandoned vehicles sit along Bond Street, between 42nd Avenue and High Street. 

Although the encampment is home for some, it's become a growing problem for residents one block over.

"We pay property taxes. Yet we're not even safe in our backyards," says Oakland resident Jane. 

She says neighbors are fed up with the activity of some of the homeless, including sex acts in their yards.

"They do drugs, we even believe they do prostitution," Jane said. "They come to the neighbor’s home and vandalized property. Children can't even walk to school without being harassed. 

Right across the street from the encampment is Oakland Charter Academy. 

School officials have reached out to the city expressing their concerns for the safety of students. 

Part of the letter from the principal said, "We are truly concerned about the safety of our students due to the horrible, unsanitary, drug infestation...Often times students are forced to walk in the middle of the street due to the trash and dumping along the sidewalk. Parents have expressed their frustration and have threatened to remove their students from the school."  

Rob says they're not a threat to the students.

"My wife she walks the kids to school," he said. "She makes sure they get across the street. She makes sure they don't get hit by cars." 

Councilmember Noel Gallo represents the area. He says there are drug paraphernalia and fecal matter around the encampment. 

City officials said they will do a deep cleaning of the area next week and will start a weekly trash pickup. Lastly, the city will install portable toilets.

However, residents say that isn't going to work.

"That's not ok. That's basically signaling ok this is a place where we can stay," Jane said. "That's not going to solve the issue of them leaving," 

Gallo says residents are considering taking legal action against the city.