San Jose's 'Hope Village' to share new temporary location with larger, established homeless group

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Those living in San Jose's 'Hope Village' along Ruff Drive were forced to move locations for a second time on Monday.

The encampment was originally built September 8 by homeless advocates for about $10,000.

Advocates built the community within a fence with tents, a common area, bathrooms, garbage collection and showers.

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Though Hope Village didn't have government backing, it ended up impressing local politicians.

A week after being built, the CHP gave the initial six residents of Hope Village a deadline get off of state property.

The tents were then moved about 200 feet down Ruff Drive on SEIU property.

On Monday, residents were again given a noon deadline to leave the encampment outside SEIU union offices.

Santa Clara County's Director of Supportive Housing, Ky Le, says the county and City of San Jose are working together to establish another site along Ruff Drive as Hope Village's new temporary location.

However, more than 20 homeless people are already living on the lot planned for the Hope Village encampment.

Homeless residents living at a location formerly known as the "Tubes" encampment say they were originally told to remove all of their belongings, to make way for Hope Village.

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"We were told to vacate the premises altogether by 9 a.m.," Belinda Brown said.

Brown says the location was called "Tubes" because the lot used to hold cement tubes which people would use for housing. She says the encampment was established more than six years ago.

Brown says the order to vacate changed on Monday morning. People living in the Tubes encampment were instead told they would eventually be sharing the lot with Hope Village.

"We're still kind of frustrated," Brown said. "We don't think that we should have to share as much space because we have 25 tents to their 14, but it's better than we had this morning."

Contractors and country crews will spend a few days clearing brush and preparing the location for both homeless groups.

"We gotta come out here and clear out all the vegetation, flatten it, make sure there's proper drainage," Ky Le said. "We're going to kind of weatherize it because they're going to be here for the fall and winter, when it starts to rain."

Instead of asking the long-time encampment residents to move completely, Le says, "We've asked them not to remain here while the crews are working, which will be through Wednesday. But after Thursday, they can come back if they need to."

In the meantime, homeless residents have been given vouchers to stay at area hotels.

"Rather than them having to move, they're just going to move to the back and we're going to take the front and try to co-exist," Charles Nelson says.

He's lived at Hope Village since it was first built in early September.

"You wouldn't believe how many times we moved over there on the creek before we moved over here," Nelson described. "So, it'll be nice, like a vacation."

Once the preparation work is complete, both groups will live on the lot for up to six months.

"As long as we're moving towards something, it's not a problem," Nelson told ABC7 News.

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