San Jose advocates, mayor react to homeless man's death during heatwave

Volunteers spent their 4th of July providing basic necessities like ice and water to people experiencing homelessness in San Jose after a 69-year-old homeless man died on Monterey Rd on Tuesday from the intense heat, according to Mayor Matt Mahan.

"This is a matter of life and death for a lot of people," said Jesi Faust, who volunteers with a group of homeless advocates called Hero Tent.

"We know people who have been out here for years," Faust told KTVU.

Volunteers deliver truckloads of donated supplies, including food, and deliver them to the hundreds of people who call parked RVs and cars in a large encampment at Guadalupe River Park their home.

"Just today, like, we encountered someone who was having heatstroke," Brody Storey, another volunteer said.

"We do have a problem that needs to be fixed somehow, and it’s going to take some hard concrete changes," said Alejandro Garcia, a volunteer from Light House Church.

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan told KTVU that two hundred homeless people die every year in encampments in Santa Clara County.

"It’s a terrible tragedy, and it’s an avoidable one which makes it all the more tragic," Mahan said, adding there are now 4,500 people citywide living outside, down 10 percent year-over-year.

"If we’re going to end the era of encampments, we’ve got to build basic dignified shelter, inpatient treatment centers, and get people indoors," Mahan said. "Even if we have to require people come indoors."

According to the mayor, this year saw 1,200 new housing units in San Jose, including 600 tiny homes which come with a wait list.


First person in Bay Area dies in record-breaking heatwave

A man in San Jose died this week in the record-breaking heatwave scorching the Bay Area. 

"What San Jose is doing is not working," said Faust. "We need people in permanent public housing. We need it today." 

"Any person with humanity wants to see people safe and alive," said Storey. "So, coming out here and seeing these people struggle, all I want to do is help."

There are three cooling centers in San Jose open from 1-9 p.m. through Saturday, July 6:

  • Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Ave., San Jose, 95124
  • Emma Prusch Farm Park, 647 S. King Rd., San Jose, 95116
  • Roosevelt Community Center (pet-friendly), 901 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose, 95116