Less than three months after it opened as a haven for a handful of people displaced from a homeless encampment on Apple property, San Jose’s first city-sponsored safe RV parking site has been shuttered.
San Jose officials shut down the temporary site Sunday because they say that everyone who had been living there either left on their own or found other housing opportunities. The closure comes after months of protests and outcry from a group of nearby residents over safety concerns.
“The story to me is not about the closure of the site but the success of giving people a safe place as we transition them from their original location to something more appropriate long-term,” said David Cohen, whose district hosted the site. “My only regret is that the site was large enough to have more people served there but because of all the fearmongering from neighbors, we weren’t able to fully utilize it to help more people.”
When Cohen and city housing officials announced in early September that they were converting the parking lot of an old, vacant tech office at 71 Vista Montaña in North San Jose into an RV parking site for unhoused residents, the blowback was swift. A group of residents who lived nearby began organizing and staging protests to block it from happening.
The site was set up on a temporary, emergency basis without public hearings and with little to no notice given to neighbors.
“It’s kind of insulting in a way to have no say in what the city does with regards to your neighborhood,” said Alma Goldchain, who has lived in a townhome near the site for 25 years. “It just seemed like these homeless people who don’t pay property taxes and don’t pay into this city were getting more rights than the people who do.”
SAN JOSE, Calif. – September 08: An RV is seen on Sept. 8, 2021, inside a safe parking site opened by the City of San Jose for people who had been camping in RVs in a homeless encampment on Apple’s property, in San Jose, Calif. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
Cities across the Bay Area — from Oakland to Mountain View — have launched safe parking programs in recent years to offer those living out of cars, trucks and RVs basic services, such as restrooms and showers, and connect them with case managers who help them find more stable housing.
Unlike most of those sites, which are in industrial and off-the-beaten-path locations, this San Jose site was in the middle of a densely-populated residential neighborhood with luxury apartments, upscale townhouses and single-family homes, as well as two parks where dogs, children and sports teams congregate.
A group of neighbors, including Goldchain, took turns patrolling the neighborhood to see if there was anything untoward happening.
Goldchain, who heard about the pending closure earlier this week, said she was thankful that chapter was ending, but she still has lingering concerns.
“I’m glad we don’t have to fight so hard but I don’t think the problem is over,” she said. “Now …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
Celebrities React To Kanye West - Donda (Official Album)
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