SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — An illegal RV Park is getting a lot of attention in one Cambrian Park neighborhood. On Wednesday, those living there could be out on the street.
Neighbor Russ Mason names this collection of RVs at Ross and Hillsdale avenues in San Jose as “Camp Cambrian.”
“It’s not a nice place to live if you’re a taxpayer,” Mason said.
But Rudy Monroe is living another reality.
“The way it is right now, I can barely afford a place of my own,” Monroe said.
He bought a beat-up RV for $400 with money from panhandling. He showers at a 24-hour fitness and uses the bathroom at the Starbucks next door.
Monroe works part time as a landscaper and says he can’t afford an apartment.
“It’s horrible to pass judgment before you know the real story about somebody,” he said.
It all began back in January 2014 when the Flames Restaurant was destroyed in a four-alarm fire.
Word slowly got out and the RVs started trickling into the neglected lot.
Councilmember Don Rocha says with a lack of affordable housing the city is trying to show compassion.
“We want to be in a position more to help the situation as opposed to force a migration and get them to move here, only to go to another part of the city,” Rocha said. “We’re trying to take action, but not take action in an aggressive way.”
Dr. Steve Beveridge has a dental practice next door where he says people are tagging the walls and sleeping and doing dishes in the parking lot.
“Food, to rubber gloves, to condoms, to trash,” Beveridge said. “When it starts to affect everything you worked so hard for, that you’ve tried to build up, then you’ve got to put your foot down.”
Since the RVs are parked on private land, it’s up to the property owner to do something.
According to county records, the land belongs to Tuyet Mai and Thao Bui.
After some digging and legwork, KPIX 5 finally contacted the new owner and his broker John Stansbury.
It turns out the two had not been out to the property in months.
The owner had no idea the fence company took the fence down, making the site a magnet for the homeless.
“He’s very apologetic that this happened on his property,” Stansbury said. “He wasn’t aware of it. They’re gonna build a new store there, produce new jobs, and tax revenue and it will be a first class retail building there for everybody’ s benefit going forward.”
The owner will be calling the police to kick out the squatters by Wednesday afternoon and will also try to have a new fence back up by the end of the day.
Last year, the city of San Jose was looking at creating a parking lot where the homeless could come and sleep in their cars. Called the Safe Parking program, it got a quarter of a million dollars in funding.
They are still looking for community partners and hope to launch by the end of the year.