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Fremont offers unhoused population overnight security in church parking lots

Fremont sees sharp rise in homelessness
Fremont sees sharp rise in homelessness 02:28

FREMONT -- In the parking lot of Niles Discovery Church in Fremont Judith Borden cooked breakfast for her newfound family 

"I cook every chance I get," she told KPIX. 

Judith and her dog Nickel have been homeless since July 5 and are part of Fremont's growing unhoused community.

Her story -- from having a roof over her head to sleeping in her car -- is all-too-common. It started when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"When it hit, I got let go from my job that I love very much and I was supposed to be hired back but, unfortunately, they hired other people back before me. So then I went to work at a couple of places and they just didn't work out. It wasn't for me. Then the unemployment didn't come through," she recalled.

Encampments are tucked around Fremont, from the one where Judith lives to a larger camp with RVs at Vallejo Mill Historic Park.

Fremont's Safe Sleeping program registers people's cars and affords them safe spaces to park overnight at area churches.

"It was really scary the first few days for me because I was sleeping on the street. Then I got accepted into this program," Judith said.

Participating churches also offer assistance. It's how Judith got the camp stove she cooked breakfast on.

"I got it from Saint Vincent de Paul salvation store down there. I got a voucher from Corpus Christi Church over here in Niles and it was $25 and I happened to have $5 and I got it."

Judith says the situation obviously isn't ideal but she's found community until she can get back on her feet. 

"It's scary but I gotta do it for myself. It's my new start and I gotta run with it."

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