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California Jungle

Published on: December 29, 2014

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The old saying, “It’s a jungle out there,” refers to the challenges in getting by and living your life. In San Jose an encampment called The Jungle provided homeless individuals and families a place of refuge from the jungle of life while “living on the streets.”

Homelessness is virtually everywhere you look in California–even in wealthy Silicon Valley where Google, Yahoo!, Adobe, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, PayPal, eBay, Facebook, Intel,  Apple and execs of other high-tech firms rake in billions of dollars, helping push up the price of housing. San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley is one of the most expensive places to live in the world (average price of rent is over $3,000/mo) and also has claimed the nation’s largest homeless encampment called The Jungle. In early Dec. 2014 just before Christmas, men, women, senior citizens, babies, children and vets living in tents and makeshift lean-to’s grabbed their precious cargo and were forced to leave. With more than 200 homeless sites counted in San Jose over the last 12 months, city officials are aggressively cleaning out encampments before they grow.  This isn’t the first time The Jungle has been cleared out but now there’s a commitment to keep it closed by assigning patrols to guard the 68-acre shantytown along Coyote Creek where upwards of 300 people have lived. Some of the displaced individuals and families from The Jungle were provided temporary hotel housing. Others are sleeping on buses, in cars, or wherever they can while continuing to look for safe havens.  Here is one program that seeks to help homeless succeed.  For volunteer opportunities and donations we put together this list last Christmas. You can check the websites listed for current information.

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