Past the barricades, mounds of personal belongings mixed with trash and dirty mattresses where vagrants lay with needles still clutched by limp hands, Shatara Mackey walks with her 7-year-old son to Phillis Wheatley Elementary.
Northwest Second Avenue under the Dolphin/SR 836 overpass is a better route than the next block over, she says.
“It’s just got worse,” said Mackey, 31. “You can see them using and everything down there.”
That’s why Mackey continues her early morning walks through the barricaded street, even as officials conduct a public health investigation into the spread of HIV and hepatitis C at the homeless encampment. Five schools in the area have been on alert for suspicious activity and loitering — including her son’s school. At least two discarded needles were found at a nearby school.
Read more from our news partner, The Miami Herald.