Homeless encampment filled with women and children torn down in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Before their personal belongings were hauled off community members held the line, blocking city crews from doing their work.

"I'll say it again-- this was the only curbside community that was safe for women," said Candice Elder, a community activist.

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The moms and their kids, 15 in all, occupied the land in October. They cleaned it up, built makeshift homes, made it a drug-free zone, even offering services to help other homeless people --like giving away food.

But Thursday night, it was demolished.

Needa Bee lived there with her daughter. Bee has two jobs and is going to law school, but found living in the Bay Area too expensive. She said the city targeted them for being a voice for the homeless.

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"If we were using drugs, selling drugs, if we were prostitutes, if we were robbing our neighbors, if we were breaking into the neighborhoods cars, (the city) would have done what they do with everyone else-- neglect them and leave them alone. But we took care of ourselves, we took care of the community and we are being punished for it."

In an email to ABC7 News, the city claims it gave the families 72-hour notice to leave. They even offered the families hotel vouchers and beds at other shelters.

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But Nina Parker said shelters aren't safe and are too far from her kid's school.

"We have kids that go to school in East Oakland. How are they going to get all the way from Alameda county back to East Oakland to get to school on time?"

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