Crews have begun clearing a homeless encampment located on 55 acres of Apple-owned land. An estimated 60 people are being relocated at the Cupertino firm’s expense. rews re relocating people, removing debris, and closing down the area.
The move comes in the wake of Apple’s announcement that it would contribute millions of dollars from its $2.5 billion California housing project. The company is working with the non-profit organization HomeFirst. The partnership’s clearing efforts will see homeless people relocated or rehoused.
As reported by CBS affiliate KPIX, flyers had been posted notifying people living at the encampment that the closure of the site would begin September 2 at 7 a.m. local time. The flyers warned that any remaining materials would be removed. Valuables would be stored for 90 days, and the rest will be hauled off to the landfill.
People living in the encampment were offered three different options for interim housing, each of which would be paid for by Apple for the next nine months. Folks could choose from a motel room, a bed in an emergency shelter, or what CBS News describes as a safe parking space.
The homeless community on Apple’s land on the corner of North First Street and Component Drive in North San Jose reportedly grew due to other homeless clearing efforts in the city.
The encampment population is said to have varied from 35 to 70 people, as residents lived in mobile homes and wooden structures. A recent fire on the land reportedly destroyed an RV and burned five acres of vegetation.
Many of the residents of the encampment are taking advantage of the offer – one person that accepted a motel room said that it might mean that her story “might have a happy ending.”
“They’re gonna help me get teeth. Because I don’t have any, you know?” she said. “It’s easier to get a job when you have teeth.”
However, not everyone accepted it. Resident Robert Carlson told KPIX that he was moving out on his own.
“It’s all part of life, ain’t it? Trials and tribulations, man,” Carlson told CBS News. “Well, we were all a big family here. We were a big family. I miss everybody already.”
HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton said Apple’s offer was “generous,” and also discussed recent large donations from local tech giants. Google and Facebook have donated $1 billion, alongside Apple’s pledge of $2.5 billion to help build affordable housing and fund homeless initiatives.
“I don’t think corporate America is doing enough. I think there are good people in corporate America. I come across many of them every day. And yet, I think the companies could be leaning in more to be part of the solution. And that means providing resources, financial resources, whether it’s land, whether it’s working with developers to build affordable housing for their employees. Whatever it is, they need to be part of the solution with the city and county,” said Urton.
New construction of a 7-foot black metal fence now surrounds part of the property, which is guarded by Apple’s private security guards. Apple says that it has plans to build low-cost housing on the land.