SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The operating lease has expired for Hope Village, the government sanctioned homeless campsite on Ruff Drive in San Jose, forcing 17 people into motels with one-month vouchers while the city and county search for alternative sites.
Volunteers spent Sunday picking through piles of debris, salvaging wooden platforms, plastic water jugs and other infrastructure for future use. The FAA had informed the city the site, which sat directly underneath the path for approaching flights at Mineta San Jose International, was unsuitable for residential use.READ MORE: SF Man Found Fatally Shot Early Saturday Near Oakland's Lake Merritt
If the city or county fail to find an alternative site by the time the motel vouchers expire, many of the former residents of Hope Village will likely be back on the streets.
“These people that are in a hotel now for 28 days, they’re gonna come out and there are still gonna be no tiny homes available or any other place for them to go, so a lot of them will be going 100 yards from here, back into the creek,” said Philip Romer, Hope Village Leadership Team Member.
At its peak, Hope Village was home to 19 people for six months, with access to amenities like elevated tents, pantry, toilets and solar powered phone charging stations.READ MORE: Counties Across California Want Out of Blue Shield-Administered Vaccine Program
After searching for months for a more permanent site, a parcel owned by the water district at Willow Street and Lelonf Street in Willow Glen surfaced as an option. However, it was voted down in a raucous community meeting.
Peter Miron-Conch, founder of Hope Village, says the city or county could have easily found a new site and relocated the village quickly.
“Nothing is stopping them. Just political will,” said Miron-Conch.MORE NEWS: VIDEO: San Francisco Firefighters Rescue Labrador Puppy From Fort Funston Cliff
“There’s 4,000 people homeless in San Jose, 7,000 in the county. Somebody’s got to care, somebody’s gotta try to make a difference. So yes, there’s hope for something to happen in the future, exactly how that’s going to work, we don’t know yet. There is hope for Hope Village.”