SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Silicon Valley’s fastest growing homeless encampment nestled along the railroad tracks near downtown San Jose off Phelan Ave. has grown to about 30 tents.
The property owner, Union Pacific Railroad, had no idea it had gotten this big until KPIX 5 called.
“This instance that’s occurred here, kind of caught us off guard,” said Union Pacific Railroad spokesperson Mark Davis.
It’s been nearly a month since San Jose shut down the Jungle, one of the largest homeless encampments in the country, with more than 200 squatters.
Over the years, the residents had become entrenched, building elaborate structures, digging tunnels and leaving behind a toxic stew of human waste and debris.
In the week after the closure of the Jungle, KPIX 5 followed some of the diehards who scattered throughout the city.
Tents and sleeping bags popped up at a Walmart on Story Rd., across from a strip mall in Little Saigon, near the Tully Community Library and even on the porches of vacant homes.
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As for the new railroad camp, Union Pacific is taking swift action by sending out crews to survey the site.
For now, it’s a collection of tarps, pallets and garbage. It’s not quite the Jungle 2.0, but it’s getting there.
For ABC recycling next door, the railroad camp has been a huge pain. Every week, the business itself pays to haul away piles of garbage left on the curb.
Nighttime fires mean they must hire a security guard to make sure drifting embers don’t spark a blaze in their containers. And when charities come to feed the homeless, they bring in tables and chairs, shutting down the street and blocking ABC’s gates, driving customers away.
An employee who didn’t want his face shown on camera, says it’s costing them more than $5,000 a month.
“I totally understand about how they need a place to stay, and their hardship,” he said. “But it’s just hurting our business.”
There is a new plan making it’s way through city and county government trying to get approval on a broad solution that could take some time.\
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