VIDEO: San Jose residents oppose homeless housing near popular park

 

SAN JOSE (KRON) — An effort to house the homeless, at least some of them, in portable, temporary structures is gaining momentum in San Jose.

But the problem is where to put them.

Some residents near Thousand Oaks Park in south-central San Jose say they want no part of a plan that could locate a temporary homeless shelter right across the street.

“We always hear about the Jungle, so many people…I hate to have this park turned into a tent city or Jungle No. 2 or Jungle No. 3,” neighbor Larry Turner said.

Turner is among neighbors who have signed a petition opposing the possible construction of what’s called an “emergency bridge housing community” next door to the popular park.

“Right now, we have homeless that ride through the neighborhoods on bicycles, they scope the neighborhood out,” Turner said. “I have caught them at night trying to break into cars. So, the last thing we want is a pod community right across from our park.”

San Jose is hoping to locate emergency bridge housing communities, like one in Eugene, Oregon, which would house up to 25 people in 20 pod-like units, on city-owned land.

A parcel across from Thousand Oaks Park is under consideration, along with as many as a hundred other sites across town.

The shelters would be temporary. Homeless people in transition to permanent housing would be given priority.

But park neighbors are worried about crime, litter, and the potential impact on property values.

“We just don’t want a lot of people here that could maybe scare the elderly as well as the little ones that come and play at the park,” neighbor Michele Popkin said. “It’s a place for families.”

This is far from settled. This and the other potential sites are now being vetted.

Part of the process is informational meetings with residents, like the one scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Pearl Avenue Branch Library.

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