Trash at Growing Homeless Camps in San Jose Sparks Safety Concerns | NBC Bay Area

Trash at Growing Homeless Camps in San Jose Sparks Safety Concerns



    (Published Friday, June 20, 2014)

    San Jose's growing homeless population is sparking safety concerns with the trash found at encampments, according to a city report released Friday.

    The report said 687 tons of waste have been removed from homeless camps in Santa Clara County since last year. City leaders in response have launched a near $1 million cleanup project also aimed at helping homeless people find housing.

    "Our desire is to have everyone in safe, stable housing," said Ray Bramson, the city's homeless response manager.  "We're trying to get there. Right now, we don't have the housing stock, and we don't have the resources to get all the people housed that we have in our community."

    The city reports that there are 5,000 homeless people on any given night in San Jose. In addition, there are more than 200 homeless camps in San Jose, officials said.

    Residents of the largest homeless encampment in San Jose, known as "The Jungle," said camp recently has become more crowded. There are about 200 residents living at The Jungle.

    "There's more mouths to feed and more trash," said Raul Hernandez, who has lived in the camp for six years.

    Alicia Armenta, a resident of The Jungle, said trash crews come around about twice a week, which is not enough. She added the smell at the camp is intense and is not safe.

    Armenta would like to see the city provide bathrooms and a place for people to shower.

    "It's not that expensive," she said.

    City officials said providing portable toilets and dumpsters are not part of the solution. The goal is to get rid of encampments and find people permanent housing, officials said.

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