A sizeable homeless camp that has been rapidly growing over the last six months in North San Jose is now being cleared out with heavy equipment and dumpsters. The work is expected to last about a week at the site on Component Drive not far from PayPal headquarters. According to Vice News, Apple is spending millions of dollars to orchestrate the cleanup effort and to move some of the homeless people there into motels or temporary housing. Apple is not saying exactly how much it is spending on the project.
Officials used flyers to notify the people at the encampment that the cleanup would start early in the morning on September 2nd. The flyer states that any remaining materials would be removed. Valuable items left behind will be held for 3 months. Everything else is headed for a landfill. “Most of the motorhomes that could run are now gone, and there’s hardly anybody here. Just a few people walking around picking up their belongings,” local homeless advocate R.J. Ramsey told Vice News.
Apple has been working with the homeless advocacy group HomeFirst since last week to help find homes for the people living at the 55-acre site, and those who choose not to get assistance will be escorted off the site Friday. According to KPIX, residents were apparently offered three different places to go including a motel room, emergency shelter, or a safe parking spot. Apple is expected to pay for nine months of that housing and will also apparently cover the cost of a year’s worth of case management.
In the last couple of years, Google and Facebook each donated $1 billion to help fight homelessness and Apple kicked in another $2.5 Billion. HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton told KPIX, “I don’t think corporate America is doing enough. I think the companies could be leaning in more to be part of the solution. And that means providing resources, financial resources, whether it’s land, whether it’s working with developers to build affordable housing for their employees. Whatever it is, they need to be part of the solution with the city and county.”
Urton claims the city of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara are doing everything they can to find permanent homeless solutions but they’re working with a limited budget. She told Vice News, “quite frankly, our city and counties are working around the clock. They have been for almost two years. And they’re short on resources. They must be exhausted. I know we are, ‘cause we’ve been partnering with them every step of the way.”
The cleanup of the encampment on Apple’s property is just one slice of the overall homeless problem in San Jose. Hoodline reported last month that the city is also putting together proposals to clean up an even bigger homeless camp near Mineta San Jose International Airport at the request of the FAA.