SAN JOSE (AP) — San Jose city officials began posting notices on hand built structures, tents and tree trunks warning 200 residents of what is likely the nation’s largest homeless encampment that the bulldozers are coming.
People living in the Silicon Valley camp, known as The Jungle, must be out by Thursday or face arrest for trespassing.
On Monday morning, Carlos Tovar, a contractor hired by the city for debris removal and clean up, walked from makeshift structure to makeshift structure yelling “Hello, Thursday morning, you’ve got to get out” and stuck the yellow warning posters into people’s hands.
He was accompanied by a dozen San Jose police officers, who used batons to smack open plywood doors and knives to cut tent walls, and about a dozen construction crew members who took photos to document the situation.
“This is hard,” said Naomi Garcia, who crumbled into tears when they thrust the notice into her hand.
Garcia said she’s been homeless for seven years and hasn’t had the wherewithal to get housing.
“I was waiting for my housing and I never got it,” she said. “You have to go to certain places and do certain things and I just couldn’t do that.”
In the past 18 months, the city of San Jose has spent more than $4 million on solving the problems at the encampment. San Jose Homelessness Response Team Project Manager Ray Bramson said that increased violence, wet weather and unsanitary conditions make it imperative the camp is cleared. In the last month one resident tried to strangle another in the camp, he said.
Another was nearly beaten to death with a hammer. And the State Water Resources Control Board has been demanding that polluted Coyote Creek, which cuts through the middle, get cleaned out.