Homeless encampment sweep prompts questions about affordable housing in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A sweep of a homeless encampment dubbed Googleville in San Jose along Highway 101 is prompting questions of how much is being done to address affordable housing in the South Bay.

The piles and piles of trash out here along Highway 101 near Story Road are astonishing. This makeshift village is home to roughly 100 people...and today it's being torn down by Caltrans crews. We asked Sherry Todd, one of the homeless women at the encampment if she would like to be in housing. She replied,"Of course, yes I would love to be in housing. I'm not out here by choice."

The lack of affordable housing is what prompted homeless advocates to come here this morning and hold up a sign dubbing the encampment Googleville. They want to show the great divide in the Silicon Valley. Some say the city and county are not doing enough to solve the problem.

RELATED: Caltrans clearing 'Googleville' encampment from San Jose

"Their plan is not meeting the intensity of the problem. The plan is futuristic we'll build 40 homes over the course of year. 40 people are going to die before that happens," exclaimed Scott Wagers, a homeless advocate who has been doing outreach for two decades.

Wagers is talking about the 40 tiny homes the city of San Jose is building to house the homeless. City leaders say there are numerous projects in the pipeline. 600 affordable housing units will become available...one of the complexes being built is this one on Second Street.

"It's a about 130 apartments that's set aside for just the people who are chronically homeless to get them off the streets as quick as possible," said Jackie Morales-Ferrand, the Housing Director for the city of San Jose.

But homeless advocates that still won't be enough housing for the 4,300 people living on the streets of San Jose. They want the city to look at designating a campsite with porta potties.

City officials are against that idea because they don't feel it can be done safely. In the short term, shelters and churches are stepping up to fill the gap. It still won't solve the this complicated problem especially with some refusing to take any help.

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