Apple and the city of San Jose apparently have a new challenge on their hands after the tech giants cleared a large homeless camp on its 55-acre property in North San Jose and moved the residents into various locations. The problem is the people who lived in RVs on the site who were given the option to move to a safe parking area. According to Mercury News, the safe RV parking site sits between a higher-end apartment complex, nice-looking townhomes, and a park with a playground.
The encampment on Component Drive had more than 100 residents and was full of 200 tons of trash, debris, junk cars, and a couple of dozen RVs which were all removed starting on September 7th as reported by Hoodline. Apple paid millions of dollars to put the residents in motels for the next nine months but others who lived in RVs on the site who didn’t want to do to motels were given the option to go to the parking lot of an old tech building near Vista Montana and Tascam Drive. It can house up to 20 people living in cars or RVs for nine months.
Now, in a move familiar for the Bay Area whenever such a site gets established, neighbors living nearby have started a petition asking the city to stop the RVs from moving onto the property due to concerns about the safety of children, trash, and fire danger. Neighbors say they were never notified by the city that it was going to happen. “Everyone is really not happy about it,” Bharat Ramakrishnan, a resident at the nearby townhomes told Mercury News.
Mercury News also reports that someone put flyers are cars in the neighborhood that showed burning tents at a homeless camp with the phrase “do you want this in your neighborhood? Stop the insanity!” Earlier this week the site only included half a dozen motorhomes and trailers along with a couple of trucks.
San Jose City Councilman David Cohen says the safe parking site didn’t need public approval because it was set up as an emergency and will only be temporary while the city finds a better spot to house the vehicle-dwelling residents. Cohen says the site was the only option the city had for the residents. “My goal was that the folks who were on Component Drive shouldn’t be swept off the site without offering them somewhere to go. It’s unfortunate that they’re being harassed by residents there,” Cohen told Mercury News.
One-bedroom apartments in the nearby Vista 99 apartments go for around $2,800 per month. Neighbors believe living amongst the RVs will cause negative changes in their community. “They’re going to wander around the neighborhood. I don’t know that people are going to feel comfortable taking their kids to the park,” resident Angelina Perez told Mercury News. As of Friday, the petition to stop the safe parking site had 776 signatures. It’s unclear if the city plans to respond further to the concerned citizens who have added their names.