Gerald Garcia had It takes 10 minutes to pack up, rush into the car, and exit the makeshift shelter near Coyote Creek. The threat of flooding from unprecedented atmospheric river storms gave him little enough time to get his supplies.
“I’m sad. I’m hopeless. I really don’t know where to go,” said Garcia, who lives by the creek for six months with her partner, Graciela. Highio.
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said the city had declared a state of emergency and an evacuation order, noting the situation could be threatening for homeless residents living near streams and rivers. On Wednesday, he and other city officials visited homeless camps to warn about flooding and inform them of available shelters, including the Roosevelt Community Center, the West Valley Library Branch, and the Seven He Trees Community Center. established a night warming center. The city will open more if necessary. The VTA provides a free shuttle service for non-residents to travel to these locations.
“We don’t expect major flooding,” Mahan said. “The only waterways that we are really concerned about right now are homeless people. Anything near a stream or river is a serious risk.”
Emergency: Due to an incoming storm, @MattMahanSJ Issue evacuation orders to unregistered residents living near water.
They are in serious danger of being flooded, so city officials, including the mayor, are telling them where they can go. @SJS spotlight pic.twitter.com/mj2jdh5OV7
— Jana Kadah (@Jana_Kadah) January 4, 2023
San Jose Police Department Deputy Chief of Field Operations Brian Shabb said he would not force anyone to evict, but would provide assistance to get people out.
“We are using a lot of the resources that are available to us whether we modify our vehicles (or aircraft),” Shab said. “We[also]have a rescue vehicle on standby that can be submerged in several feet of water.”
But with a homeless population of over 6,000, many neighborhoods have been forgotten, including parts of Coyote Creek near Story Road and Center Road, where Garcia lives. More than a dozen supporters unhappy with the city’s response have decided to go to these locations themselves. Over the New Year’s weekend, several camps were flooded.
“I wish the city had told us sooner. We should have been ready,” said Garcia. “Right now I’m just grabbing clothes, gas and food.”
his partner Haio picked up three of his favorite large paintings and took them with him wherever he went.
“They make me happy,” Haio said. “I love so many other things out there, but I can’t take them all.”
The couple don’t know where they’re going, but they don’t want to risk being swept away by a flood. The 63-year-old doesn’t know where to go. Perez has been harassed at the shelter, and he said he had difficulty packing all his belongings because of his sciatica.
If you’re staying safe at home right now, you may not realize it, but it’s an incredibly heartbreaking day in San Jose.
Hundreds of waterside homeless people are desperately gathering their belongings and looking for places to go.
StoryTK @SJS spotlight pic.twitter.com/rn60YGvWrs
— Jana Kadah (@Jana_Kadah) January 4, 2023
Homeless advocates, along with the Lighthouse Department moving non-resident residents to shelters, tried to convince Perez to leave, but she refused. Advocates said it was very likely to collapse under
“What am I going to do without my stuff,” Perez said in Spanish. No one wants to tell me to leave.”
The National Weather Service predicts 1 to 2 inches of rain in San Jose over the next two days. This means that streams and rivers are more likely to flood. Valley Water spokesperson Matt Keller previously told San José Spotlight that he doesn’t expect the home to be flooded. Monitor nearby areas, and hotspots populated near Ross Creek on Cherry Drive and the Guadalupe River near Alma Avenue.
Residents living in these hotspots are encouraged to sign up for alerts and use sandbags on their premises.
Click here to register for the Santa Clara County Emergency Alert System. To sign up for Valley Water’s alert system, click here.
Residents can find free sandbags here. Residents can also call Valley Water’s watershed hotline at 408-630-2378 to report blockages and spills.
Contact Jana Kadah [email protected] Or @Jana_Kadah on Twitter.