Mario, a longtime resident of San Jose

“I just see a lot of difference that people like or they don’t like – especially people that have been living here for 10 or 12 years under the bridge. They have a lot more hate towards them. I just think to myself, the big thing here is the medication and the diabetes. [Authorities are] throwing away their diabetic drips and and water to test their blood. When they’re clearing out the bottom, they’re just throwing everything away.

[Authorities are] not giving them enough time to get their stuff out. People aren’t there, they’re up here. They just throw it away, they don’t give the people a chance to get their stuff. I think they should be able to get an ID and be able to match their ID with their stuff. They need to relax and wait for people to come because they’re throwing stuff away that is life saving. If they don’t have it, they have a possibility of getting injured or dying out here.

Another thing I see is the warming center out here. They’re open when its warm and its closed when its cold. They didn’t really need the warming center when its open, the people that work there, they wanted to do what they wanted to do. They really didn’t want to work the weekends. It doesn’t matter if they work the weekends or not, why not hire someone that does want to work the weekends. People are out here in 20º or 30º weather out here and there warming centers are not open over here on Saturday and Sunday. I think that’s an issue that needs to be brought up with Mr. Rios. These people are freezing out here, these people are dying out here. This one guy died, last year he got hit by a car. It could be fatigue or by the cold.

There are some issues out here that they don’t see. If you don’t live out here and you don’t see it, you got to come out here and see everything yourself. You can’t judge someone for what you see, you have to judge someone for what you see everyday. A lot of these people need help, they have animals. I don’t think they should have animals because you can barely feed yourself, how can you feed an animal. However, I understand that that’s their companion, that’s what they need. They judge you and everyone thinks you’re out here like stealing or doing drugs. There’s a lot of people like me you know. My family stole my identity and we’re stuck out here you know. You can’t do nothing because you have a case with San Jose Police Department. They won’t let you open a bank account, they won’t let you do anything because they stole your identity you know.

Regarding housing, I think they’re doing a very good job out here. Trying to build tiny houses, everything counts. I have money, but it seems like I still can’t get help out here. Me and my wife are out here and she just beat cancer. I have to pay for the medication and medicare only covers so much. But the thing is, I would rather give all my money and have my lady be safe in my life. She’s the person I’ve been with for 15 years. I feel bad because she shouldn’t have to suffer because it’s my family that has had problems. People are doing a great job with affordable housing.” 


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