Homeless advocates protest against decision to clear homeless camp

San Jose's largest homeless encampment is being cleared out and protesters rallied against the effort on Sunday.
San Jose's largest homeless encampment is being cleared out and protesters rallied against the effort on Sunday.

The encampment known as The Jungle is located just across the street from Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

Nearly 200 people live in this area. Some homeless advocates say the cities plans to clean up the area will end up hurting the people who call this place home.

Robert Aguirre packs up his tent located at the rim of The Jungle.

"This is a notice that was served to me on my tent. It was served on Friday and we have to be out by 7 a.m. Monday, which is tomorrow," Aguirre said.

The notice also says trespassers will be subject to criminal prosecution.

"I have everything here. I don't have storage," one man said.

"This is home for us, you know? And as bad as it may look or what not, you know, this is home," Raoul Hernandez said.

Ray Bramson, the city's homeless services manager, says only about 10 people will actually be affected.

The plan is to pick up garbage on the eastern bank of Coyote Creek .
The flyer though does not specify the area and some people who told ABC7 News they tried to call the number listed, but got no answer.

Still, homeless advocates rallied in the dirt lot off Story Road, where there are plans to put up a fence to prevent illegal dumping.

"They're lacking that human passion. They're lacking that human dignity," one man said.

Pastor Scott Wagers is concerned it will fence them out and prevent them from dropping off weekly food donations.

"The churches want to help the city but the city is going to make it impossible because the city's strategy, in my opinion, is to try to isolate the homeless," Wagers said.

But others like Sammy Castillo want the city to clean out The Jungle once and for all.

"You come around here at night and there's no lights. and you don't know what's in there," Castillo said.

He calls it a safety and health hazard.

The city will hold on to personal property like tents for up to 90 days so people can pick them up. Cleanup starts Monday at 7 a.m.
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