SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A rally was held in San Jose on Tuesday as a group of homeless advocates fought to save a homeless encampment.
The tent city, named Hope Village, is built off Ruff Drive near Interstate 880 and Guadalupe Parkway. But Hope Village doesn’t have the permission to be where it is and the city of San Jose said that the encampment has to go.
The State Unemployment Office, who owns the lot on which the camp is situated, reported the camp’s existence as a trespassing and called in the California Highway Patrol to deal with the matter.
CHP officers issued the camp a 72-hour eviction notice.
Regardless, homeless advocates still believe that such an encampment is necessary.
“The condition that people live in is intolerable,” said Peter Miron-Conk.
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Miron-Conk is part of an ad-hoc group of homeless advocates who said that the thousands of people on the streets of San Jose are living in inhumane conditions.
After months of careful planning, the group took over the unused parking lot that became Hope Village. Using only private donations, the group established Hope Village as a highly livable homeless encampment.
Hope Village is unlike any other homeless encampment in San Jose; it’s clean, organized and hidden behind a security fence. It’s made up of ten spacious tents that are raised on wooden platforms. There are showers, portable toilets and even garbage pickup.
“We feel morally compelled to do something. To improve their quality of life, to give them relief from being on the street. This, we think, is a model that we think can be replicated,” said Miron-Conk.
Homeless advocates and supporters aim to not only preserve Hope Village but to also use it as a model for future homeless encampments in San Jose, which they said are badly needed.
Residents of Hope Village said that it now feels like home.
“It’s wonderful. I can leave my stuff here securely and go and do job searches. I can’t do that living under a bridge like I was,” said Curtis, one of the camp’s seven residents.
Homeless advocates, supporters and residents of Hope Village plan to stay, even if they have to force a shutdown or get arrested, if it comes to that.
“Things are not OK the way they are. We won’t cooperate. Things need to change,” said Miron-Conk.
The eviction notice will take effect on Thursday. Residents said some of the tents may be moved out beforehand to avoid losing them in a sweep of the lot.