California’s homeless population is an issue, with the number of residents who lack a place to call home rises every year. The state has some extremely wealthy residents, yet 150,000 sleep in the streets or in shelters.
Residents in Oakland are doing what they can to help the situation. A vacant lot at the corner of 37th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way was just a bunch of overgrown weeds.
“Every single day for the past decade I lived here, I walked on my way to work past this vacant lot, this eyesore, this blight that was never put to good use to the community,” Stefani Echeverría-Fenn told The Guardian. “Meanwhile, you would see the tents grow just a half a block down there. You see people literally sleeping on the side of the street, on the side of freeways.”
Echeverría-Fenn and other local neighbors transformed the area into what they are calling a homeless sanctuary. The area contains a solar shower, a garden for food and flowers, communal kitchen and dining area, toilets, and a pump operated sink. All of these utilities are managed by the campers at the location.
The location is protected by fencing, and even houses some chickens to provide eggs and keep insects under control.
Oakland residents who are interested can follow 37MLK on Facebook, where they like to keep their community updated about what’s going on and how people can help.