BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – A homeless encampment located on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Adeline Street in Berkeley is turning a few heads this holiday season.
Solar panels are powering Christmas lights on a tree and lighting up a decorative tent. They are also being used to charge phones and computers.
“We are trying to be the leading camp in the sense that we want to show people that something different can be done,” said camp organizer Stacey Hill.
A community is home to about 20 people ranging in age from 20 to 60. There is also a tent stocked with food, and a communal table where homeless people drink coffee every morning.
Stacey Hill helped organize what he calls the “Here There” encampment. Homeless people have been staying at the site for the past two years. They say Berkeley Police has not cleared them out.
The city has agreed to clean Porta Potties the encampment bought. It also picks up the trash.
“I think it’s pretty clean as far as camps go, you see other camps around town and they got trash everywhere,” said Kent Dull.
Dull has Parkinson’s and has parked his trailer at the camp for the past two weeks without any problems. Overall, the organizer says there are few reports of violence, which can be expected at other encampments.
Hill says what makes the camp work is the rules.
“We have a collective body that keeps the rules,” said Hill. “No drinking. that’s probably the primary thing that keeps this camp together.”
Campers must also respect a 9 p.m. bedtime rule.
Hill hopes the encampment continues to grow and other Bay Area cities will get on board with its approach to living on the street.