San Jose begins clean up of largest homeless camp in South Bay

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of San Jose has triggered some controversy as it's trying to clean up a homeless encampment called "The Jungle" in East San Jose, near the Happy Hollow Park and zoo. However, the city's goal is to get housing and services for the homeless.

Volunteers with the Most Holy Trinity Church had to hop a curb Wednesday morning to get into the parking lot just outside The Jungle homeless encampment. They bring food every week, but were told access was going to be limited at the largest homeless encampment in the South Bay.

"We do this every Wednesday, so we have to know when they're not going to allow us anymore," said Deacon Juan Aquino.
Aquino said he has no idea if the city will continue to let them into the area.

Crews dropped off giant boulders to the camp Sept. 3 and on Tuesday city workers began lining the boulders up in the parking lot next to Story Road and were installing a gate around the encampment.

Organizations, churches and nonprofits will be allowed gate access as long as they're working with the city.

"Educate the other people around here on where they can get other resources," Mike Osteen, of Downtown Streets Team, said. "Where they can find housing. Where they can find places to get jobs. You know we have a job training program that they can come in and list in and just help them get back on their feet and off the street."

Regulatory agencies are putting pressure on the city to solve the pollution problem on Coyote Creek, which runs right through The Jungle.
The city's goal is to have all 200 plus residents in a stable living situation by the end of the year, which will also allow workers in to clean up the area before the rainy season.

The city says since 2013 has housed 80 people living at the site and 60 more people have housing vouchers. The big problem, though is finding a place to use those vouchers.

"I don't think there's enough housing available, but I think there are enough vouchers," Robert Aguirre, a resident of The Jungle, said. "I can write you a piece of paper right now and tell you it's worth a million dollars, but you know if you have no way to redeem that what do you have?"
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