SAN JOSE, Calif. - A new site for RV dwellers to park in San Jose is up and running but not without loud opposition from neighbors. People living in the North San Jose neighborhood protested all day Tuesday. As many as six campers will be staying overnight.
As security screens RVs in the parking lot off Vista Montana in North San Jose Tuesday night, campers were met with dozens of upset neighbors.
"This is the worst possible situation to be in as a mom with very young children," said Shprese Head of San Jose.
Many protestors live in nearby townhomes. The city-owned lot is deemed a safe space for cars and RVs. The lot shares a wall with two playgrounds.
"I’m worried about my kids' safety," said Head. "I’m worried they may step on a wrong needle."
"Stop torturing the people that are going to be living on the site with the loud protests, they already feel unwanted," said HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton.
Much of the contention between the City of San Jose and neighbors has to do with communication and timing.
The City of San Jose was under the gun to relocate campers from another lot along Component Drive owned by Apple.
Neighbors felt they were left in the dark. They’ve directed their anger toward their Councilman David Cohen.
"This is a standard reaction. It’s not surprising people acted this way," said Cohen.
Cohen stresses the lot’s limited number of campers for a limited time.
"My understanding was potentially five accepted the offer to move, so the maximum number was somewhere between five and nine," said Cohen.
"For me, it’s fear," said Urton. "People are afraid of what they expect to happen, what they don’t know will happen."
Urton said the nonprofit is assisting with services such as case management and substance abuse treatment. KTVU spoke to RV camper Steve Perez.
"They could be walking in my shoes tomorrow, they could be homeless living in a motorhome or maybe they won't be fortunate maybe they will be living in their car, then what," said Perez.
Those living in the area want long-term solutions and for the city to stop moving campers. Instead, they want the city to build low-income affordable housing.
"That’s going to take years and in the interim we need a host of solutions," said Urton.
Neighbors said they plan to keep fighting.
"We are going to do anything and everything that we have to do to get our community safe," said Head.
The councilman hopes the initial anger from residents will subside once they see it is not a large camp site. Cohen was very adamant it will not be a permanent location.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.