San Jose Homeless Community Dealing With Cold Weather

A federal judge has given permission for San Jose to continue clearing out a homeless encampment at Columbus Park.

As of this time, there are about 50 people still living at the encampment. Most of them in RVs and trailers.

The city said it won’t clear them out Thursday because of the rain. But they did not say exactly when it will resume.

For the past two years, Cheryl Imus has lived at the encampment.

She stated that she is on a waiting list for permanent housing with “Home First.” She added that now that the city has the green light to clear the area, she’s worried she could be towed out before she gets housing.

“We moved from there to there to there and we are still in the Guadalupe Park, Columbus park. So, I don’t know where the next place is,” Imus said.

Encampment resident Amber Patterson said that she too has been living in limbo.

“This has been my life for the past six years. So, I’m just used to the city coming in and taking everything and going,” she said.

Patterson added this week has been especially challenging.

“It’s very cold at night. We have no heater and no power,” she said.

But because she’s living in a friend’s trailer, Patterson hoping the city will hold off on clearing out this area until after rainy season, so she can still have a roof overhead.

The city said it will consider the weather.

“The city is working on an updated timeline on abatement. The abatements are halted due to the rain. But the teams will continue to monitor the weather and adjust their work if there is inclement weather,” Daniel Lazo with the San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.

At one point, several hundred people once lived in the encampment on vacant land near San Jose International Airport. But the city recently cleared the camp in response to an FAA mandate.

San Jose said since then, it has helped more than 40 people find housing and is focused on connecting those who remain with resources.

But many of the people living at the encampment said they don’t have any safe parking options. The city is working on opening a site at the Santa Teresa VTA station, but it’s not ready yet.

Some people that are enrolled in a program to get housing said they have received a special pass to remain parked in the area until Feb. 1.

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