San Jose police breaking down 'The Jungle,' huge homeless camp

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It's move-out day in San Jose for the last remaining residents of what many believe was the largest homeless encampment in the U.S.

On Thursday morning, the city enforced its eviction deadline on The Jungle.

Waste from The Jungle pollutes the creek, which runs off into the bay, so city officials say it's necessary to break down the camp for health and safety reasons.

Homeless trudge through the mud, pushing shopping carts full of their belongings.

People who call this place home are devastated. There were a lot of tears and some people begged cleanup crews not to touch their belongings.

"These people deserve to have a place to go to. They don't do nothing to nobody," Jungle resident Anna said.

Many are unsure where to go next. "Wherever I go, it will probably be for a mere second until they run us out," resident Toi Larks said.

The city has evicted The Jungle before but this time, they say it's for good. They came prepared with a housing program that's been in the works more than a year.

"For this project, we decided we should put a housing-first approach on it. We've housed 144 people out at this site. We've got another 55 ready to move into housing," San Jose's Homeless Response Manager Ray Bramson said.

Homeless advocates stood by the barriers in a show of solidarity. Several outreach programs like HomeFirst had resources on site.

"We have set aside beds for residents from this encampment, so we want to have a place to take them tonight," HomeFirst CEO Jenny Niklaus said.

Robert Aguirre, who lives in The Jungle, says some people aren't interested in those services because of mental health issues and a general distrust.

"We also have people that are not U.S. citizens that have been living down here and they don't feel that the city is going to do anything for them," Aguirre said.

Despite the efforts to keep them out, some residents say they are planning to come back.

There will be rangers and police patrolling the site to make sure that does not happen.

The city is spending around $600,000 to clear out The Jungle and they hope to be done within the next two weeks.
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