SAN JOSE (CBS/AP) – San Jose plans to remove a huge homeless encampment has mushroomed in a grassy field near downtown San Jose right under the airport flight path, city officials said Wednesday.

There are now more than 70 tents pitched in the field not far from the Guadalupe River Park, the most visible of an estimated 60 encampments along San Jose waterways that are mostly hidden from view.

“It’s pretty hard to miss this one,” said Mayor Chuck Reed.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Housing director Leslye Corsiglia told the City Council in a memo on Wednesday that the encampment is targeted for cleanup the first week of March.

Reed said the roughly 100 people in the tent village would be offered access to shelters and other social service programs, and city officials would evict any who refused to leave.

Scott Wilson, who’s been living here for the past two months, could not understand why the city would not leave them alone.

“This is the bottom, and when you hit the bottom, you have to have something. Here we are right across from the old city downtown and we’re making due,” he said.

The homeless village has drawn complaints because it is highly visible and it has grown quickly to fill a large grass field the size of a city block.

“They can’t put houses here because of the airplanes. They can’t build anything. All they can do is make a parking lot out of it. Why not just let us stay here for a little while until we get on our feet,” Wilson said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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