SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – It’s hard to believe, but there’s a crackdown on feeding the homeless at a popular San Jose park.
San Jose is gearing up to hand out citations to people who hand out free meals at St. James Park.
It’s part of the city’s push to revitalize the downtown park.
But homeless advocates are planning to fight, to keep feeding.
City of San Jose spokesperson Cheryl Wessling said, “It’s more than just a meal that’s going to help these people.”
Affordable Housing Network president Sandy Perry said, “We think that’s wrong. We think it’s an injustice.”
Lavelle Moore has been homeless for more than a decade and often enjoys a free meal at St. James Park in downtown San Jose, but that could soon change.
“The homeless are not a part of the plan,” Moore said. “They keep pushing the homeless from different areas. Yeah, they want you to disappear.”
The city of San Jose is preparing to crack down — potentially issuing citations to people who provide free food to the homeless at the park — a practice they describe as well-intentioned but misguided.
Wessling said, “If you really want to help the homeless, the goal is for them not to be homeless — to find housing. Handing somebody a meal in a park is not really going to help them no longer be homeless.”
The city says it wants to encourage the homeless to visit soup kitchens and shelters where they can receive much-needed services and help.
But homeless advocates fear the city’s true goal is to sweep the problem under the rug.
Perry said, “They need to be treated with dignity and respect. The answer is never to push people out of sight.”
Homeless advocates say they have no illusion that a single meal will solve this complex problem, but contrary to the city’s stance, they believe every little bit helps.
Homeless advocate Kevin Christian said, “It could easily be me. It could easily be anybody. And it’s only by the grace of God that we are fortunate to have a roof over our head or food in our stomach.”