San Jose: Homeless encampment cleared, but they didn't go very far

Homeless advocates are frustrated. They say the sweep of a San Jose encampment last week was pointless and that the residents just ended up moving feet from their original location. 

The Googleville encampment off Felipe Avenue underneath the 280/680/101 interchange has been cleared out.The fences mended. But the homeless that used to live on this Caltrans site haven't moved far.

Jacquline Bojorquez who is homeless says, "They're trying to get rid of us, but we don't have any place to go."

And so dozens have set up camp, on the other side of the fence, just feet from their old encampment.

One man rejected moving to a shelter, because it would keep him from his business repairing and selling bikes.

He says, "It's only for sleep. I can't make my job in there. Here's my job."

Homeless advocates like Scott Wagers of the CHAM Deliverance Ministry think this sweep was cruel.

He says, "The point is they wanted to move them out. They didn't move them out. They moved them 30, 40 ft. And they're stuck up against the fence. And this is more of an eyesore than it was in the Caltrans property."

Caltrans says they had to clean the property for health and safety reasons.

But San Jose city officials announced today this could be part of a bigger plan.

In conjunction with Caltrans, this is one of three sites they're considering for their tiny homes project.
If chosen, the vision is to have about 40 people living here in temporary housing.

Jacky Morales-Ferrand, San Jose's Director of Housing says, "We're continuing to evaluate this specific site for one of our bridge housing communities as a potential site. No decisions have been made."

The homeless are skeptical of the program, but say something needs to change.

Patty Reyna, who is homeless says, "We feel like we're stuck in the same thing over and over and over again. Right when we get comfortable, they take us out."

Jacquline Bojorquez adds, "We don't want to be a burden to anybody. We don't want people to look down on us. Because we're not bad people. We're human too just like anybody else in a five star mansion is. We're human. We have a right to live."

San Jose officials say they're trying to work quickly to address the problem. They announced the "short list" of sites for the tiny home project today.

The other two locations include a VTA construction staging area off Mabury and one site on Hellyer Avenue North of Silicon Valley Boulevard.

But they say there needs to be environmental review and public comment before any final site is chosen.