“This Is the Only Way for Them to Survive”: Police Cracked Down on Street Vendors Without Permits in Santa Clara County

A crackdown on street vendors is leaving families in the South Bay scrambling to make ends meet.

NBC Bay Area has learned the Santa Clara County Environmental Health Department is cracking down on street vendors without permits ahead of next year's Super Bowl at Levi's Stadium.

Jim Blamey, director for Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, confirmed Wednesday the county is working with Super Bowl organizers to address the permit-less street vendors before the big game.

"It was hard for me to sleep because I was wondering how those people are going to pay to feed their children. Pay the rent. This is the only way for them to survive. The only labor they had," said Idania Peralta, who works for Guadalupe Church in East San Jose.

San Jose police last week told vendors outside the church that if they did not have a permit they would have to leave. Vendors were also told that anyone who refused to leave would face misdemeanor charges and have their goods confiscated.

Police said they only responded to the church because of community complaints.

Street vendors outside churches are part of a tradition dating back decades, if not centuries in Latin America after Sunday mass.

"Instead of closing doors, we just need to find ways to open doors," Peralta said.

Peralta said street vendors don't have the $1,200 or so to pay for the permits. She knows all vendors have to follow the law and is hoping they can return one day.

"We gotta do what's right," Peralta said.

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