San Jose mayor considering sanctioned safe sleeping sites for unhoused residents

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
SJ considering sanctioned safe sleeping sites for unhoused
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan says he's looking into sanctioned safe sleeping sites to help homeless residents.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose's mayor says he's looking into safe sleeping sites to help homeless residents.

Mayor Matt Mahan is looking at the city of San Diego for examples of these legal camps with insulated tents and on-site amenities including restrooms, showers and resource referrals.

In October, San Diego's mayor opened a second safe sleeping site that has the capacity for up to 400 tents.

In San Jose, longtime homeless advocate Shaunn Cartwright with Unhoused Response Group (URG) hopes if the mayor is considering a sanctioned encampment, it is done so on a smaller scale.

MORE: SJ's new public dashboard details progress, problems addressing homelessness

"It's forced relocation of unhoused people mashed together in a large camp and that means you have people together who don't get along, people who may have abused each other," Cartwright said.

She suggested even separating women and children.

"It might be best to have a camp for domestic violence survivors together and have small areas for that because people who have the most trauma don't need to be in camp of 400 people," Cartwright said.

Cartwright said the city of San Jose once had a tent city that was promising. Back in 2018, homeless advocates had set up "Hope Village" in order to provide immediate housing.

MORE: San Jose to lease private land for $1 a year to build tiny home community

Three advocate groups raised $10,000 for a space that had tents, a common area, bathrooms, garbage collection and showers.

Hope Village ultimately didn't last longer than a month because it technically was on state property and didn't have government backing.

"That was started by advocates and that camp was a great idea it just needed a place to land," Cartwright said.

Cartwright hopes the city's strategy to address homelessness includes the people impacted the most.

"Talk to unhoused voices, use unhoused voices. Those need to be the loudest voices at the table," Cartwright said.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live