SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – People living at the Hope Village homeless encampment in San Jose were told to pack up their things and move to a new location Monday morning.
Charles Nelson has been homeless for the past five years after losing his job at goodwill that he had for seven years, then consequently losing his home in Campbell.
Nelson said Hope Village has been the safest he has felt since 2013.
“Out here, you can go to classes, you can go to your job, come back and everything is still here,” Nelson told KPIX 5. “I believe everybody is doing their best to find us a location and they’re sincere.”
Hope Village is home to six people right now. Late Sunday night, the California Highway Patrol said they had until noon Monday to pack up and get out.
Fortunately, they did not have to go far. The local Service Employees International Union chapter, located 200 feet away, said Hope Village could stay at a lot on their property as long as it takes for things to get sorted out.
Santa Clara County supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez are trying to find a more permanent solution.
“We want to find a site that we can secure by lease or one that we already own that we can commit to for the next 18 months,” Cortese said at a news conference Monday morning.
The problem with this empty parking lot is that the state owns it and the Employment Development Department manages it.
“Because no one is trying to criminalize homelessness at all; that’s not what anyone is trying to do,” CHP Captain Ceto Ortiz said. “So I think what it came down to is what the law said and the law said that it was illegal, so we were going based on that.”
Another problem with this general area is the fact that it is in a landing zone for Mineta San Jose International Airport. The FAA says because of that, people can’t live at the location.
Hope Village has been funded by private donors and the San Jose Catholic Worker community.
The EDD has not responded to requests for comment as of Monday morning.