San Jose Meets with Homeless Advocates About "The Jungle"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Jose city leaders has come to an agreement to keep this dirt parking lot next to Silicon Valley's largest homeless encampment open to traffic; in spite of their intention to eventually shut it down. The city will install these rocks on the perimeter of the lot to keep vehicles out and also put in a gate with a lock on it to prevent illegal dumping. Bob Redell reports.

    San Jose reached a compromise Wednesday with groups trying to help "The Jungle," the city's largest homeless encampment.

    But the city made it clear it is a temporary arrangement.

    As we reported exclusively in Wednesday's 6 p.m. newscast, the city's Department of Housing held a private meeting this evening with numerous homeless advocates.

    City Meets With Homeless Advocates Over Future of The Jungle

    [BAY] City Meets With Homeless Advocates Over Future of The Jungle
    San Jose is trying to figure out how to deal with “The Jungle” -- one of the nation's largest homeless encampments in its own backyard. The city is having a private meeting Wednesday with numerous homeless assistance groups at City Hall. Robert Handa reports.

    Some, including CHAM Ministries, said they expressed anger at the city because of the boulders delivered to The Jungle site on Wednesday.

    The city has said it plans to use the boulders and a gate to limit access to the encampment.

    The set-up was postponed last month after advocates expressed concern the new barriers would force a closure by cutting off aid.

    "We were livid" said CHAM Pastor Adrienne Lawton. "We were told the city would not bring in the boulders until after tonight's meeting. So we were unhappy to see the boulders brought in before it."

    But Lawton says the city told groups tonight the boulders and gate will be installed by next Thursday but, for now , will remain unlocked.

    She says that should enable groups to continue delivering clothes, food and other supplies.

    City officials reiterated the setup is mainly designed to curb illegal dumping and other crimes.

    Before the private meeting began, the city's Homeless Coordinator Ray Bramson told NBC Bay Area it is trying to work with the advocates.

    "We are not trying to impede access" he said. "We're not trying to block people from doing the good work they're committed to doing. We're just trying to make sure that this is a coordinated action and that we're all working together for the greater good."

    Lawton says the groups will meet with the city next week to discuss other issues including installing more portable toilets and garbage units at The Jungle.

    But she adds the city still has a goal of closing down The Jungle by the end of the year.

    "At this point we all agree that finding permanent housing is the overall solution" Lawton said. "I just hope that is part of the plan in picking a target date for closure."