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Community to Voice Opinion About South San Jose Safe Parking Plan

Another highly-protested and controversial proposal to help the unhoused is arriving soon in South San Jose.

A safe parking program would allow those living in RVs, or cars, to park in the Santa Teresa VTA parking lot and on Wednesday, nearby residents will get a chance to sound off on the program in a public forum.

“They need to have a place for the homeless people to be,” said San Jose resident Constance Newman. 

But where that place should be, is the part few can agree on.

“They are not going to be able to solve their own homelessness but I do think it’ll have a negative impact on our neighborhood here,” said Michael Cahcher of San Jose.

San Jose has more than 6,000 unhoused residents and the new plan will allow nearly 100 of those living in RVs to safely park and stay temporarily in a matter of months.

The VTA parking lot has over 1,000 parking spaces and the goal is to bring 40 to 50 RVs with one to two people in each. 

They will also have access to services. The city is teaming up with Life Moves to provide resources and training needed to get a job and into transitional housing within 12 months. 

But not everyone in the neighborhood agrees it’s the right place for such a program. 

“I’m not worried about it, I’m not worried about it at all,” said Newman. 

 Allison Rice is a mother and a first grade teacher and said all of the schools around there use the light rail to take students on field trips and there’s also a school bus stop there.

“My concern is this neighborhood, being that we already have several tiny homes in this area and the proximity to schools,” said Rice. “Now my daughter is how are we going to get you to school? You know I don’t want you standing around by yourself.” 

Councilmember Matt Mahan is among those pushing for the program. He said it’s important to fairly distribute these sites across the city , but also believes local governments need to make sure they don’t become a magnet for problems.   

He thinks that can be done by improving code enforcement, investing in beautification and increasing police patrols. 

“The bar to get into this site will be relatively high, most of the people who are at the site will either be working part time or will be on their way to working,” said Mahan.

He says similar projects have been successful in his district. 

This one could be up and running by fall with a promise to stay open no longer than four years. 

“The city is currently working on a contract with the VTA and the site is moving forward but the final vote will be taken in the next couple of months,” said Mahan. 

Meanwhile, the VTA said they’ve worked with other cities and know what it takes to ensure this project is successful. 

“We are requiring the city of San Jose to have a detailed operations manual that needs to be followed and on site resident manager and security,” said Sandra Bermudez of VTA.

The community meeting is being held virtually and starts at 6 p.m. and you can find it here.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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