SAN JOSE, CA — CalTrans recently evicted residents of San Jose’s largest homeless encampment since the “Jungle” in a massive sweep on the morning of February 5. Community supporters rallied to protest the action, faulting local and state officials for failing to address the root causes of the homelessness crisis, despite the area’s enormous wealth held by tech companies like Google.
Some named the Felipe Road encampment “Googleville” in order to highlight the tech industry’s irresponsibility in the face of Silicon Valley’s ongoing humanitarian emergency. A system that increases homelessness while its corporations grow radically richer is unsustainable, and must be resisted not only by those directly affected, but by all people of conscience and good will.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur, Leilani Farha, recently visited the Bay Area and called California’s criminalization of the homeless and repeated forced removals a form of “systemic cruelty”, worse than what she has witnessed in cities like Jakarta, Manila, and Mexico City.
“UNBELIEVABLE,” wrote Pastor Scott Wagers a few days later. “After church service, I got a couple of urgent calls and texts that the people who were displaced from the Googleville encampment are now literally living on the sidewalk along the fence that separates state property from city property. So, after hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to remove our friends from the camp and remove (or destroy) their belongings, most of the people have moved about 20 feet from where they were before. This is true madness and I’ve been watching it for too long. Sorry, too many people are watching and too many people are on the streets… NO ONE is being fooled anymore.”
America could easily end homelessness tomorrow. The government needs to turn over some of the hundreds of thousands of government-owned and corporate-owned vacant homes for people to live in.