Closing The Jungle Is Not a Solution

Regeneration Against Destruction, a young collective helping to fight for basic rights for the houseless community who live in the San Jose encampment in San Jose. The City of San Jose is currently trying to push them out with no solution for housing needs.

We as R.A.D. Regeneration Against Destruction, have been working hands on with our free markets at “The Jungle” for over a year. We were created shortly after the deaths of 4 people who died of exposure in December of last year.

We have seen many people grow and change due to the interactions and work many grassroots, church, and other community groups have done with The Jungle. No one can go there and participate in regenerating that community and not be deeply impacted by the humanity and dignity there. We have helped people find housing, aided people with legal issues, and provided for their most basic needs through our monthly free markets. We have raised money on our own from our schools and our communities, we as youth contributed our own time and labor to impact the people their positively. All of this work has made us build deep connections to the people and community there. We stand in solidarity with them, knowing that homelessness can impact us all, if one of our parents lost a job, if one of us had a bad medical condition, or even if drugs and alcoholism plagued our families. We know the issue of homelessness is a heated and contentious issue in San Jose, but closing “The Jungle” without a plan, is problematic and will not help the population there in the long run.

            Photo by Jorge Valencia

 

Here are some of the members of R.A.D’s analysis of the situation.

I have only gone to The Jungle recently and I was surprised to see what I saw. I felt like everything I had grown up thinking about the homeless was a lie. Everyone always thinks they are drug addicts, rapists, and just bad people in general, but in reality they are really nice people. Some members of the Jungle merely have had a bad past, just like many other people in our community. What the City of San Jose is doing might sound nice and as if it would help, but in actuality it’s totally unorganized. They want to close “The Jungle” as soon as possible, but they still have not found homes for all the residents. There are around 200-300 people if not more in “The Jungle” and the City is proposed to house around half of that, of course that’s if and only if they find them housing before they close “The Jungle”. So, I’m left wondering what will happen to those who are not lucky enough to get housed.

-Vivian

The article released about “The Jungle” being fenced off and closed, is not stating the truth. The city claims to have a plan to place the residence at “The Jungle” into housing, but yet they started the process of putting a fence and rocks around the top, before communicating their plan to the residents. They talk about “The Jungle” being a dirty place and the homeless will “move into a neighborhood near you” which is beyond stupid they have a home at “The Jungle” and the city wants to close it down for their own benefits. Has the city authorities even took the time to personally meet some of the residence and hear their story? Being a part of San Jose R.A.D. and working with the homeless has changed my life. Many of us can relate to their stories, from experience I know how it feels to be thrown out of my home. No one takes the time to understand and listen to the “homeless”, just because they are “homeless” people automatically assume the worse, they simply judge and criticize them. The homeless have been refused help and been ignored by the city so now they all stick together and don’t trust them and simply have each other’s back because that’s what families do. Working in R.A.D. I have had to opportunity to give back to them, to give them the basic necessities to get by. As I hand the products to them I see a gigantic beautiful smile. Has the city took time to help them? No! They haven’t, it seems like they don't care at all, all they want is to get rid of them, but they don't know the impact they’ve made on them.

-Angelina

The article San Jose poised to close “The Jungle” by Bruce Newman and Mark Emmons is stating that they are going to close down “The Jungle” the home of many who have built a community together. They claim to be “helping” them, but in reality tearing down something that was handmade in bad conditions full or hard work and sweat. They quoted people who have lived in “The Jungle” talking bad about it, but my thoughts are they could have faked these experiences in order to just frame it as a bad place. In addition, they seemed to only get limited opinions from people just supported their agenda or plans for the future. The city attempts to frame themselves as the good guys and at the same time treat the homeless as if they are not human like they don't exist. I ask people to put yourself in the shoes of the people from “The Jungle”, think about having everything you built for yourself to survive being taken from you. Do you know what it’s like to have nothing, and lose even more? If the city wants to do something positive they should do what they said they would and put them in homes and make sure they are safe before threatening to close down “The Jungle”. Instead the plan in place will put more homeless out on the streets. We need to be wise and don’t be foolish, they need to look at their plan and think before they judge the people in “The Jungle” as if their lives and existence doesn’t matter.
-Cristina

Home is where they heart is, but those with the privilege of a home act heartless to the homeless. Showing no emotion when a homeless person asks for change most people turn their heads or walk away. Homeless people are just that people, but why do we not treat them as equals? They have so little, yet the city of San Jose wishes to strip them away from their rights and take away their “Homes” it took months for them to build. They wish to fence the area as if it were contaminated and a virus was on the brink of outbreak. We as R.A.D continue to see the lives of homeless people being treated as disposable, while promising housing, but taking away their only current housing before they can provide them with actually homes. In spite of this R.A.D will work tirelessly to provide these people with the basic necessities to survive such as water, clothes, toiletries, and support.

-Eduardo

We as R.A.D plan on continuing to support “The Jungle” as well as many other communities in struggle in order to stand with those who are despised, until they become seen as fully human. We plan on having our next free market on November 2nd, 10:00am to 2:00pm. If you would like to get involved please feel free to contact us at:

sanjoserad@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/sanjoserad

or on Instagram @ sanjoserad

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