A homeless rights advocate was set to give tours on Monday showing how new homeless encampments were sprouting throughout San Jose, after city officials last week shut down "The Jungle," considered the largest homeless camp in the United States.
Robert Aguirre told NBC Bay Area that while he "applauds" the city of San Jose's effort to house 144 people, he is critical that "the city was negligent in its approach." Since "The Jungle" was shut down on Thursday morning, an unknown number of homeless people have been camping out near the airport, Rosemary Gardens, near a Walmart, and acording to Aguirre, near the Tully Library, where he planned to give a tour on Monday morning.
Claire Wagner, spokeswoman for HomeFirst, which worked with the city to house the homeless people living in "The Jungle," agreed there is a problem. There just isn't enough room to house the county's homeless population. There are about 1,000 shelter beds in Santa Clara County, she said, and an estimated 7,600 homeless people. She witnessed herself a homeless woman pleading with a nonprofit to help her find housing, but there was none immediately available.
"We have an ongoing problem that's persisted for years," Wagner said. "There is not enough affordable housing, and there's not enough resources for nonprofits to help the homeless."
As for these new encampments springing up, Wagner said the city is stuck with a hard decision. Money can go toward managing these new encampments to make sure the health of the people and the environment is kept to a minimum, she said. Or, she added, money can be used for housing.
"With such scarce resources," she said, "where should that money be put?"
NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.