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Activists Want Google To Include Low-Income Housing In San Jose Campus

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The Bay Area housing shortage has hit the South Bay hard and there are fears Google's planned mega campus could make it even more difficult for people to afford to live in San Jose.

On Thursday, one contingent of locals was calling on God and Google to help.

A group of homeless people and their supporters prayed on the future site of Google in downtown San Jose at the crossroads of Almaden and San Carlos streets..

The group, led by Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministries, says the mega project can make San Jose greater or make it worse.

"We need technology companies like Google to become a good neighbor," said Wagers. "The two worlds are colliding right here. We call it Googleville.  And so Google can come in and do something extraordinary and set a trend for the rest of the world because Silicon Valley has one of the greatest income gaps anywhere."

So the group is calling on the high-tech giant to build housing for minimum-wage workers into the so-called "urban village" it wants to erect.

Google and the city of San Jose are currently in negotiations for several pieces of land on the block. Details are scarce, but it's said to be San Jose's largest land deal ever.

An estimated 8 million square feet of office space will provide enough room for 20,000 workers.

Wagers says more poor people are in danger of being shoved to the side when wealthy tech workers move in.

City leaders say there will be time for the community to weigh in and help shape the project. But some say the "Google effect" on housing price increases around the downtown area has already begun.

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