An Internment Camp for San Jose's Homeless?

Organizer and housing rights leader Sandy Perry shares news and perspective on a recent City effort to build a fence around "the jungle", the nation's largest homeless encampment, which is in San Jose. Video by Joan Simon.

Homeless and homeless advocates hold a rally at the Jungle to protest the building of a fence. Photo by Charles Fowler.

Beginning early Monday morning, August 11, the City of San Jose will try to erect a fence around its notorious “Jungle” homeless encampment.

The fence will extend from the encampment gate near Coyote Creek all along Story Road to the old railroad trestle entrance. It will close off virtually the entire parking area where dozens of ministries have been feeding and assisting the homeless for months, effectively shutting down their efforts. Residents who have been camping on the upper edge of the camp will be forced into the lower area along the creek or else face arrest. In one case, a disabled woman who cannot walk up and down the hill will be displaced even though she and her husband have no place to go.

This is the latest in City Councilmember Sam Liccardo’s so-called “tough love” campaign to punish the homeless. The City’s own survey found that 96% of encampment residents would move into affordable housing in a heartbeat, if only it were available. But San Jose has failed to provide sufficient affordable housing for decades, not only for the homeless but for hundreds of thousands of its lower-income workers. In the current market, even “Jungle” residents who have obtained housing vouchers have been unable to find landlords to rent to them.

For many months San Jose officials have encouraged outdoor residents to move to the “Jungle” because it had outreach teams there and many ministries were available to provide food, clothing, and necessities. To turn around and build a fence around it is punitive and feels like a form of entrapment.

“Jungle” residents, ministries, and supporters will gather tomorrow in the parking area where the fence will be built at 12 noon to speak up for human dignity and against the fence.

Please call or contact Councilmember Liccardo to protest at 408-535-4903 or
Video Clip of Rally to Stop the Building of Fence at the Jungle
By Joan Simon

Don't Erect a Fence Around "The Jungle" in San Jose, CA from Joan Simon on Vimeo.

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