San Jose Homeless Encampments Grow as Authorities Clear Out “The Jungle”

The city is just kicking the can down the road. That’s what some San Jose residents are saying about a decision to clear out “the Jungle,” the nation’s largest homeless encampment.

Roughly 200 to 300 people had been living in squalor at the 68-acre sprawling homeless camp along Story Road and Coyote Creek., in the middle of the 10th largest city in the United States. Completing the clean-up could take until Dec. 19.

As the clean-up continues, residents of the Rosemary Gardens neighborhood say the next Jungle is already growing in their neighborhood, situated to the east of Highway 87, near San Jose International Airport.

Friday, police at the clean-up site said they were getting calls all day from San Jose residents, saying the homeless from the Jungle are simply moving into their neighborhoods.

Where did the Jungle's residents go? Some say they just found a new neighborhood.

"The city just kicked the can down the road,” said Carlos Barajas, who says more homeless now moving into his backyard. “You have another encampment up there. This is the new Jungle.”

Barajas wanted NBC Bay Area to see his new Rosemary Gardens neighbors. He said they’ve been around for a few months, 40, maybe 50 of them, setting up camp along the sound wall of Highway 87 in San Jose. Barajas said he knows some of them came from the Jungle and thinks more are on the way.

Inside the Rosemary Gardens encampment, on what’s considered state land, NBC Bay Area came across one man cooking sausages on an open flame, a possible fire risk and one of many reason the neighbors are concerned. Residents of Rosemary Gardens held an impromptu meeting Friday morning to talk about the city’s decision to clear the Jungle and the possible repercussions.

Rosemary Gardens resident Vanessa Robles said the shutdown of the Jungle has her feeling “even more unsafe. I’m scared,” she said.

“It’s a scary problem,” said Rosemary Gardens resident Lena George. “Because we’ve lived here for many years and never had a problem.”

The city maintains it is addressing the housing and homelessness issue throughout San Jose but admits a solution won’t come overnight.

Ray Bramson, San Jose's homeless response manager, said 14 people from the Jungle asked for help and slept in shelters on Thursday night. He estimated about 30 people had nowhere to go and may have ended up at new encampments such as the one in Rosemary Gardens.

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