SAN JOSE, Calif. - The deadline is approaching for San Jose to come up with a plan to move a large homeless encampment that sits behind the runways of Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said people living at the site pose a safety risk.
San Jose has until the end of next week to devise a plan to move 400 unhoused residents. Though, the actual relocation day would be months away. Many people living at the encampment said they haven’t heard of any progress and believe history will repeat itself.
Wagers and others took to the streets Tuesday, calling on city officials to release details of how it planned to move the unhoused residents that live at the site, many of whom consider the area their home.
"People have become rooted, so to say. They’ve made their camps more into homes. And they’re comfortable here. They feel safe here. There’s a community here," said Kellie Goodman, an unhoused resident who has lived in the area for nine years.
But earlier this year, the FAA told the city the site was not fit for human habitation, due to noise from planes as they land at the airport.
"Airports that receive federal funds must ensure airport property is used for its intended purpose," a statement from the FAA read in part. The administration wants the land cleared.
"It takes a long time to find where you’re going to relocate 400 people," said Shaunn Cartwright of the nonprofit, Unhoused Response Group.
City and airport officials said they are working on a plan, and are hopeful they can meet the FAA’s deadline of July 31.
"Things continue to move forward. We’re working closely with our partners with the city to come up with a resolution that is thoughtful in addressing the needs of the people on the ground," said Keonnis Taylor, an airport spokeswoman.
Scott Wagers worries the city’s solution from seven years ago to remove an encampment nicknamed "The Jungle," could happen again.
"You don’t want to sweep the problem down the street. And they’ve done it (before) and the numbers keep increasing. And that’s been their strategy since I’ve been an advocate," said Wagers.
City officials said the goal is not to move the problem from place to place, but to find permanent housing and resources for these residents.
The plan is due at the end of the month, and the city is asking the FAA until next spring for implementation.