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Residents In San Jose Express Relief At Closure Of 'The Jungle'

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — While the homeless residents that lived in "the Jungle" and their advocates are unhappy with their eviction from the makeshift encampment, many nearby residents and businesses are expressing relief that the city of San Jose is finally shutting down what they say is a constant source of blight and pollution.

Residents In San Jose Express Relief At Closure Of 'The Jungle'

Simi Castillo, who lives one block from the Jungle, told KCBS that he and neighbors have put up with garbage, human waste, fires and crime for too long. All, he said, are products of the massive homeless encampment.

"We don't miss this. Merchants, everybody suffers—even the people—including the taxpayers," he said.

He hopes that the Jungle with will be gone for good with help for private citizens.

"Anybody that sees anything going on in area like this or in a corner, report it and have the police department or a special investigation…to keep moving them," Castillo said.

The Jungle stretches over 68 acres through central San Jose along the Coyote Creek is arguably the largest homeless shantytown in the U.S.

The eventual dismantling of the camp was known for months by the people living there and the city has spent $4 million working with nonprofits to house as many homeless as possible.

Still others, like Nancy Palmer Jones, who is the senior minister at the First Unitarian Church of San Jose, say they are heartbroken.

Palmer said the eviction has come at the worst time of the year.

"How painfully ironic that we would be throwing people out and saying there is no room at the inn, even now at this season," she said. "How can we, as human beings—those of us that are housed, those of us that have a salary—how can we not feel our kinship with all humanity?"

The city, meanwhile, plans to increase police and park ranger patrols to keep the homeless from reclaiming the Jungle.


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