San Jose pastor uses ‘Mercy Mobile’ to help the homeless

Photo Credit: Rob Fladeboe

A San Jose pastor uses his mobile home as a vehicle to assist the homeless, but is struggling to find a place to park it.

KRON 4’s Rob Fladeboe reports.

Pastor Scott Wagers of the San Jose-based C.H.A.M. Ministries has devoted much of his life to helping the homeless, but now he’s the one who could use a little help.

“We need a place to park this. If anybody’s watching and knows a place we can park it, a big lot, we’ll take care of it, Wagers said.

For more than a year now, Wagers has been using his motor home, known as the ‘Mercy Mobile,’ to deliver food and clothing to homeless camps around town.  However, parking the 37 foot R-V on city streets at night has led to complaints from neighbors. Some of them feel the Mercy Mobile is not only an eyesore, but may be drawing more homeless people into their neighborhoods.

“Every time we go to a homeless camp now, which are very close to the neighborhoods, there’s one adjacent to a neighborhood that’s really congested, so people came out yesterday. They came outdoors and they were, they were very upset with me. They said, ‘well we see what the problem is now,’” Wagers said.

Only last week, someone broke into the Mercy Mobile and stole not only all of the food and blankets inside, but some of Wager’s personal items as well.  A day later, church groups and others stepped up and replaced all of it.

Wagers showed off the donated goods. “Lotions, toothpaste, toiletry items, and then we have a lot of stuff like this that was just donated. And then of course, in this hand, the kind of nice comforters and blankets, this is really essential,” he said.

Wagers says the police are on him to park the Mercy Mobile on private property. He’s had several tickets too, and there was another visit from Traffic Control this afternoon which resulted in a 72-hour warning to move on or be towed.

“Help us find a place to park the Mercy Mobile. Help us find a place to park the homeless. You know, let’s look for something compassionate, not fight each other and be at cross purposes. That’s something that’s crippling the problem, and making it more difficult for everybody. I can tell you that I’m on the front line of this, and there’s all kinds of people lashing out in anger. It reminds me of what’s going on in our country, frankly, and its not rational.”

There is now some progress in this story. Rob Fladeboe spoke with Pastor Scott Wagers again Wednesday evening, and the pastor says he has come to terms with St. Timothy’s Church in South San Jose to provide some temporary parking for his motor home, the Mercy Mobile. Ultimately, Wagers says the only way to make peace with the neighbors and to keep the mission of the Mercy Mobile going forward is to find some  long term parking, preferably on private property.

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