San Jose to clear large RV encampment at Columbus Park

The City of San Jose says it will begin to clear the large encampment at Columbus Park in the next few days. They’ve already cleared an encampment nearby after the Federal Aviation Administration required them to do so. Right now, there are still over a hundred RVs in Columbus Park. 

"I believe Friday, they’re going to come through, and they’re going to come and pick up what’s not running," said Patricia Gonzalez, who lives in her RV at Columbus Park.  

San Jose city officials say there are about 140 vehicles currently inoperable in Columbus Park. Some people living there say they’re trying to figure out where they’ll go once the encampment is cleared. Patricia Gonzalez said she’s been unhoused since 2019 and has been living in this RV at the park. 

"I’m just trying to see if I can get someone to help me, and if not, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It might just get towed," Gonzalez said.  

Gonzalez said her RV isn’t operating, and she’s hoping the City will help her get it repaired, so she can move it. She says if her RV gets towed, she’ll sleep in her van which she is able to drive. Others there say they'll do the same.   

"I’m separated from my child because I didn’t want him living out here with me like this," said Sarra Cummings. 

Cummings says she’s been living in this van for the last two months after being evicted and leaving a long-term relationship.  She also says she's on a waiting list for permanent housing

"I’ve always wanted to be on the other side helping the homeless. I didn’t know I’d end up like this. It’s a trip how tables get turned," Cummings said.  

San Jose officials say they continue to offer supportive services to encampment residents and connects them with housing and shelter opportunities. Eugene Blackwell says he’s using a hotel voucher right now, but he expects permanent housing to become available soon. He says he waited for eight years.  

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"Mixed emotions. I’m happy because I finally got housing but at the same time, I’m sad because there’s a lot of people out here, a lot of women and children that really need it right now to so, kind of mixed emotions about it," Blackwell said.  

The City of San Jose says the encampment isn’t safe for people to live in, and they’ll start clearing people from Columbus Park on October 11 through November 18.