A homeless encampment believed to have been the biggest in the country—and located in one of its richest areas—was cleared by police and social workers in San Jose yesterday. The San Jose Mercury News describes the scene as a "caravan of misery," with homeless people standing by shopping carts full of possessions as the shantytown known as "The Jungle" was dismantled. The camp was home to around 350 people at its height, still just a fraction of the estimated 5,000 homeless people in San Jose, and around 60 of them were still there yesterday, despite a warning days earlier to get out or be arrested for trespassing.
"People drive by and look at us like we're circus animals," a woman told the AP as drivers slowed down to watch the eviction of the camp just a short distance from the headquarters of companies like Apple and Google. "I just grabbed whatever I could because I don't want to go to jail," said a homeless former truck driver who moved to the camp eight months ago. He says that housing prices in the area are now so high, he couldn't get a house even if he got a job. The city's homeless-response manager says nobody should have to live in such "horrible" conditions and "we need to make sure that people never have to live in a place like this." He says 144 people had been placed in housing before the eviction and another 70 to 80 temporary shelter beds have been arranged. (Read more homeless encampment stories.)