The fire started on Wednesday, August 11th in a lot at North First Street and Component Drive in San Jose where dozens of houseless folks currently reside. Firefighters responded and quickly stopped the fire’s spread, San Jose Fire Department spokesperson Erica Ray said. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.
The Houseless Encampment has recently made news with its growing size over the last year. What started as a few RVs parked on the side of Component Drive has become a community of dozens of people marked by a maze of broken-down vehicles and tents across the unused Apple-owned property.
This encampment has grown in size following Apple’s groundbreaking promise two years ago to dedicate $2.5 billion to combat the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis and growing houseless community.
According to Apple Insider, Apple has not yet attempted to remove the houseless population on their property, though it is in talks with the city over a potential solution.
Outreach workers from HomeFirst began meeting with residents this week, assessing needs and offering services funded by Apple, the company released in a statement. An exact budget has yet to be released but Apple expects to spend millions of dollars on support services and housing for the 50-60 residents that live at the encampment.
Homefirst CEO Andrea Urton said that they plan to move some residents into motels for transitional housing and eventually expects to find permanent rental housing for residents through a network of landlords in Santa Clara County.
Apple has slated part of the future property for an affordable housing development and expects to start office construction on the site in the near future. The company suggested plans for tiny homes but was never formalized.
San Jose currently estimates that there are over 200 encampments throughout San Jose, and the most recent count from two years ago reported that there were about 6,000 people living in these communities.