Homeless advocates in San Jose say most people safe during evacuations, others refusing shelter

Advocates in the South Bay say many of the homeless have been moved to shelters and higher ground. Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose say they’ve opened centers to as many people as possible and will continue providing emergency shelter until the storms are over.   

I'm just outside the Camden Community Center which is being used as a 24-hour emergency evacuation center. Homeless advocates, City and County agencies and the Red Cross say they're doing all they can to keep people sheltered.   

After days of warning people living on the streets, and along creeks and rivers, homeless advocates in San Jose say it seems most people heeded the message that dangerous storms were headed to the Bay Area.    

"Even if you don’t want to leave, you’re just being forced to because there’s just nothing left. Everything you had has floated away or has just been pounded into oblivion by the rain. We’ve given people new tents, and then the wind snaps the tents," said Shaunn Cartwright, Founder of Unhoused Response Group (URG). 

Santa Clara County says Gilmore Armory and Camden Community Center in San Jose have opened their doors to shelter the unhoused during the evacuation emergency. Both Camden and Seven Trees Centers are also open 24 hours a day.   

"As far as I know, there’s still plenty of room here at Camden. The Red Cross has done a great job of opening these shelters and being kind to people, providing the services as best they can," Cartwright said.    

San Jose says it’s operating two overnight warming locations at the Roosevelt Community Center and West Valley Branch Library. They’re also using nine libraries and community centers as daytime warming locations across the city. Still, one man told us he doesn't want to be in a shelter even during an emergency.   

"They want to put me in a warm place, but I’m not with no shelters. Because I’ve been in shelters, and I’m not comfortable. I can’t be around too many people," said Tyric Perkins.       

Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministry in San Jose says there will always be people that simply won’t seek shelter.   

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"There’s still a lot of people that I see that either can’t or won’t go in for many reasons. It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand but when you’re struggling with mental health issues, you may have people you maybe want to stick with," Wagers said.    

Both San Jose and Santa Clara County say they still have plenty of space for people looking to get off the street during this evacuation period.