By Susie Steimle

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — They’re commonly referred to as homeless encampments, but Mavin Carter-Griffin would prefer you call them “curbside communities.”

She’s lived on Wood Street in Oakland for more than a year now and has a lot of ideas about what could help the homeless in the midst of a housing crisis. For example, she’d like to see the showers at Raimondi Park be open to the homeless community, believes all homeless people need a pit bull, and loves Oakland.

Mavin Carter-Griffin sits in what she calls a “curbside community.” (CBS)

She says if it were any other community, she might not have survived this long.

We talked to her about what she calls “this ever evolving changing new face of homelessness.”

“College students, grandparents, your mom, anyone can be homeless,” she said.

She says it’s particularly difficult to be a woman on the street. “You don’t know who you can trust, we all have intimacy issues, it’s kind of hard to be friends with people, but you really want friends and you love people and at the same time you just want to go hide,” she said.

“There just needs to be more outreach, we’re your neighbors. The social classes, the economic things we’re going through, the housing crisis, a two bedroom is $5,000 a month, that’s crazy to me.”

She also said she wants to be neighborly and she wants the public to understand that. “It’s a struggle out here, it’s like being a pioneer woman or cowboy or whatever you came out in your Conestoga wagon. Now you’re out here in your RV or your tent, and we’re settling the curbs because it’s the last frontier.”

Read and watch more of Susie Steimle’s PROJECT HOME 

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