San Jose provides updates on management strategy for homeless camps | MCU Times

San Jose provides updates on management strategy for homeless camps

SAN JOSE, California (CROWN) – In much of the pandemic, and when orders on the ground were in full effect to stop the spread of COVID-19, the city of San Jose put a pause in the administration and the fight against its homeless camp. procedures.

As a result, many camps throughout the city grew markedly.

The city published one status report about its camp management strategy and its secure relocation policy.

In response to growing camps, city leaders introduced a total of 14 referrals related to camp management since the beginning of the year – currently eight are completed and six are underway.

The report outlines the city’s efforts to resume pre-pandemic camp management and combat procedures.

Courtesy: City of San Jose.

As the state began to reopen during the summer and prior to schools resuming for personal instruction, the city implemented a 150-foot buffer around schools, away from public right-of-way, defined where camps cannot be located, and increased campground reductions .

The city council will consider a list of future setbacks or buffer zones that indicate where camps cannot be located, which include:

  • City Park playgrounds;
  • Mobile home fencing;
  • Residential fences adjacent to city property;
  • Hospitals, including trauma and behavioral environment; and
  • Areas near waterways.

Between May and August, there were 18 reductions implemented within the school’s buffer zone.

The report says that “staff worked proactively with camp residents to reduce the number of camps in the school’s buffer zone, thereby reducing the number of necessary reductions as the new school year began in August.”

Courtesy: City of San Jose.

Waste collection

The report also highlights waste services that the city provides to camps along waterways throughout San Jose.

Currently, the city offers a consistent pickup service along Interstate 280 to Story Road, Tully Road to the Capitol Expressway, Interstate 880 to Hazlett Way and 50 small locations.

The city’s BeautifySJ and its partners continue to collect waste from approximately 220 active camps every two weeks.

Goodwill continues to provide waste collection in low-impact locations, San Jose Conservations Corps collects waste at camps located primarily along trails, and city staff manage waste services with suppliers in camps that tend to be larger with complex service needs.

From January to August, a total of 1,689 tonnes of waste, biowaste, hazardous household waste have been collected and disposed of by BeautifySJ from the city’s streets, sidewalks and streams.

“The biggest challenge is the city’s limited ability to deal with incompatible, disruptive behaviors that affect surrounding neighborhoods and businesses,” the report reads.

“This behavior often stems from concomitant mental health and substance abuse disorders that the current continuum of care through collaboration with housing, outreach contractors and County Behavioral Health Services is unable to cope with levels that effectively serve the person in crisis.”

Courtesy: City of San Jose.

Program challenges

Mayor Sam Liccardo, Deputy Mayor Jones and Cocunil member Matt Mahan have made several recommendations to address staff shortages, improve the recruitment process for vacant BeautifySJ positions and allow families to park their vehicles near the school their children attend.

Councilman David Cohen also introduced several recommendations aimed at addressing the city’s homeless situation, which he says is “effective, compassionate and sustainable.”

Cohen says reduction should be a last resort, citing that the city has spent nearly $ 5 million on clearing out and closing camps – compared to just $ 800,000 spent on outreach and engagement.

“With a steep growth over the last few years in the number of camps in San José, as well as the population in the camps, it is clear that any solution to homelessness must be built on a foundation of effective camp management,” Cohen said in the note.

The municipality must review the status report and vote on the recommendations at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

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