Target: San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed
Goal: Do not displace large homeless group whose camp was dismantled
A homeless camp in San Jose known as “The Jungle” is being dismantled after housing hundreds for over a decade. At the edge of Silicon Valley, mere miles from the headquarters of the wealthiest tech companies in the U.S., police, construction workers and social-service workers are taking apart the shanty community, leaving hundreds with nowhere to turn. Urge the State of California to provide adequate shelter for these in-need citizens, now further displaced.
Thanks to recent technological booms, the Silicon Valley area is becoming richer and housing is becoming more expensive, pushing lower-wage workers out entirely and widening the already extensive divide between its poor and wealthy citizens. The average apartment in San Jose currently rents for about $2,600 a month, well beyond the means of a lower-wage employee.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that the San Jose/Santa Clara County region has the nation’s fifth-highest population of homeless. The region also ranks among the highest in the country for rates of homeless children and young adults. It is estimated that The Jungle recently grew to house between 200 and 300 homeless in its squalid expanse.
There will be regular patrols by park rangers following the complete dismantling of the shanty town to ensure that none of the previous occupants return. The camp is considered unsanitary and dangerous by many, but for some time it has been home to a community which is now spread between homeless shelters across the county or out on the streets.
The homeless shelters are not permanent or even semi-permanent solutions and at least one-third of the camp’s inhabitants have not been placed in shelters at all, and are now back in the same predicament as they were before they found The Jungle. While the inhabitants of the camp were in need of a different arrangement, this clearly was not the best possible solution. Forcing these people out of their community and taking down their homes while only offering two-thirds of them another housing solution is not acceptable.
Sign this petition and demand that adequate housing be found for all previous inhabitants of the homeless camp.
Dear Mayor Reed,
The Jungle may not have been attractive or sanitary, but it was home to hundreds of people who otherwise face even more difficult circumstances. The 18 months it took to find shelters for the camp’s inhabitants clearly was not enough, as at least one-third of them are now back on the streets.
As the wealth disparity grows in your booming city, a huge portion of its inhabitants seem to be increasingly ignored. The shanty clearly posed threats to those who called it home, but it was arguably better than the concrete and asphalt many of them are now forced to sleep upon. While the camp should be dismantled, only part of the problem inherent in its existence has been addressed and it clearly favors the area’s many wealthy inhabitants. Our nation’s homeless citizens are still citizens and deserve to be treated as such.
I urge you to provide adequate shelter for all of The Jungle’s former inhabitants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chris Sansenbach via Wikimedia Commons