Construction Slated for North San Jose Apple Campus Disrupts Encampment

Apple is one step closer to joining Samsung, PayPal and Cisco in North San Jose, as construction reportedly starts soon on its 85-acre campus near Mineta San Jose International Airport, just north of Highway 101.

As the tech giant has essentially squatted on the 2015 land grab without any timeline for development, dozens of people without homes sought refuge on the dilapidated property off Orchard Parkway and Charcot Avenue.

As it lay vacant, residents coming off the streets and fleeing other nearby encampments carved out pockets of living spaces among the flat sea of dead grass. Clusters of RVs, improvised shelters and vehicles house the estimated 35 to 75 people living alongside Component Drive.

Apple offered San Jose $300 million worth of property for affordable housing development in 2020, but those monies haven’t translated to any physical acreage or numbers of units, and won’t materialize for years—if zoning and legal challenges don’t block the option entirely.

City officials lauded the gesture, but housing advocates liken the encampment to a mirror—reflecting the tech industry’s contribution to the South Bay’s ever-growing housing disparities amongst potentially empty promises.

Poncho Pacheco, who says he’s been on the land before Apple purchased it, wants nothing more than the company to allow them to stay onside or offer mutually beneficial aid, such as footing the bill for temporary housing.

“They’re one of the richest tech companies in the world, and they’re paying HomeFirst [Services of Santa Clara County] a lot of money to come watch after us,” Pacheco says. Apple posted  a record $81.4 billion in revenue for its June quarter—up 36% from last year. “Hardly any of that money ever comes back to us.”

Notices taped around the encampment Aug. 25 announced that the lot would be cleared by 7am today—giving less than a week's notice to pack up and get out. As of 11am Sept. 2, the lot clearing had reportedly been rescheduled until tomorrow, Sept. 3.

Since Tuesday, unhoused residents have been offered 30 short-term hotel rooms, resources for shelters and tentative plans for a safe parking lot tentatively being arranged by the city of San Jose. Andrea Urton, the Milpitas nonprofit’s CEO, says the $2.5 million budget Apple offered for those resources has proved vital.

“From my perspective, what Apple is doing is the perfect blend,” Urton says. “They're being part of a larger solution, and they're drilling down to where their offices are located. If everybody did what Apple is doing, we wouldn't have the issue of homelessness.”

Yet, the community flagged Apple’s inability to “think differently” in offering new solutions. Many are concerned about maintaining their belongings, pets and family members if they don’t align with hotel or shelter rules—often a reason people prefer living encampments. Dexter Jones, who moves into his hotel room on Saturday, is disappointed by Apple’s inability to clearly communicate with unhoused residents. When police and clean up crews arrive in the coming days, he anticipates unhoused residents may simply refuse to leave.

“The person who owns this property should have talked to us first before getting the police involved,” Jones said. “Don’t throw us off to the wolves.”

16 Comments

  1. goodbye and good riddance! it was an unsafe, unsanitary dump and there was no other alternative to shutting this down

  2. Oh, the horror. 😱. Which is worse, the environmental pollution caused by the homeless or the brain damaged caused to society by staring at their stupid iPhones all day? Ha! trick question!

  3. Bye Bye, Poncho.. So long Dexter..

    “One of the Consequences of such Notions as ‘ENTITLEMENTS’ is that
    People who have Contributed Nothing to Society,
    Feel that Society owes them Something,
    apparently just for being nice enough to Grace Us with their Presence.”
    ― Thomas Sowell

  4. Mr. Vera, what is it that prevents you from seeing that most residents of San Jose have about had enough of the mounds of garbage and human feces these folks pollute the city with? My own empathy tank is running on fumes and for you to pretend most of these folks are working through a temporary setback or a string of bad luck isn’t giving the public the ugly truth that their’s is a lifestyle that they are perfectly content with and have chosen. And how is it that I know these things but you, as a journalist covering the subject, have failed to see?

  5. Guess where they are putting the safe parking site? At the parking lot of the Supertex building located in the middle of a overpopulated community. We are meeting councilman Cohen tomorrow at 4pm to discuss how non transparent with the process and how inconsiderate they are by trying to sneak it in without letting the community know. Meeting is at the Vista Montana Neighborhood Park. Andrea Urton you should put it your community since you are getting most of the kickback from Apple

  6. Mr. Mena: Very good comments. The reason he doesn’t report the truth, which is obvious to anyone who objectively looks at “homeless,” is because he is a Leftist propagandist.

    The Leftists can’t win power unless they hide the failures which are systematic in their flawed ideology. Their own failures are always turn into the crisis de jour. The failures for which the Left’s solutions are always higher taxes, more “programs,” and loss of rights and liberties.

    Ergo, the compliant useful idiots in the press.

  7. Yes, Andrea Urton (non-profit CEO), and Vagrancy Advocates are licking their chops right now… They are very happy to get a chunk of that “..$2.5 million budget” offered for people that do not want to help themselves.

    The Goals for the ‘Homeless Advocate’ Swindlers:
    How can I collect another city contract?
    How can I collect more Medicaid dollars?
    How can I collect more federal matching funds?
    It’s more important to Keep the Staff Paid than to actually help the poor become self-sufficient.

    “Every major city in CA is spending tens of millions or more on programs for the homeless.
    But most of the money is being wasted. ….Why?
    Because there is a Homeless Industrial Complex that is Getting Rich,
    Wasting the Money,
    while the homeless population swells.”

    …. “If the Problem gets Worse, they get More Money. “

  8. Mr. Patriot;
    Anyone who has been closely involved with any homeless outreach, or homeless housing initiatives, knows that sadly you are 100% correct. It is all a money grab by “non-profits,” who profit very nicely, and very little of the money filters down to people who need it. The article gets one thing almost right, “Many are concerned about maintaining their belongings, pets and family members if they don’t align with hotel or shelter rules—often a reason people prefer living encampments.” What is missing is the real reason they won’t go to shelters or hotels: they can’t bring illegal drugs or alcohol, so they refuse.

  9. Zoning in cities across the US has prevented affordable housing to be built since 1985. Only allowing single family homes. ATHERTON has a lot size of 1 acre per home. It needs to be addressed at the Federal level. The other problem is 90 percent of the solutions are temporary and just kick the can down the road. All the counties in California should pool a percentage together in Northern California and Southern California to create 2 to 3 locations with 30 thousand quanset huts and all solutions to help the people, medical, Mental Health, job training, a farm to grow their own food, social services and help transition people back into society. Those that are drug addicts and alcoholics can be transitioned into treatment. It could even have a source for manufacturing and product assembly. Counties are spread thin and can only provide temporary solutions that fail

  10. seems to me there is always a personal reason/story why. someone has become homeless. For one who was displaced because the owner of my rental unit failed to pay his morgage with the housing money being given. therefore ,the property went into forclosure and we were forced to vacate.. I AM a college graduate and taxpaying citizen(have been since my first job at age 15 1/2. i am now 55) before grouping all homeless together and labeling us get your facts straight PLEASE

  11. People are waking up to the fact that news sources are not in business to actively report news and tell the truth.

    SJI was created to be a mouthpiece for former Mayor Tom McEnery. Hmmm, why would a politician want to create a news outlet?

    Why does Rick Callender (with a history of sexual harassment) and CEO of the water company sit on the board at San Jose Spotlight?
    The CEO here at SJI has some questionable ties to our embattled Sheriff.

    Information is power. If you have your own news outlet…….

    Back to the topic:
    The obvious sense of entitlement for the homeless is that society isn’t doing enough for them.
    I can’t have my dog and my own garbage heap in a city/state run shelter?

    I do not know how we end the homeless problem, but we all pretty much understand what isn’t working.

  12. The whole city needs to be swept clean. Enough is enough. You are not entitled to live where your don’t own Period. And housing is not a right. You pay for it. Shame on all those so called activists that penalize decent responsible tax paying residents for the benefit of those who don’t contribute.

  13. To Deborah:

    Please, your comments might apply to one in five-hundred homeless people. Studies show that well over half (and most likely over 70%) of all homelessness is caused by mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, anti-social behavior, and plain ole garden variety criminal conduct.

    We will never be able to fix this problem until we face the reality of the root causes. As long as the homeless hucksters keep pressing their “not for profit,” “we need affordable housing” balderdash, we will never solve the problem.

  14. What we want to know is why has the city of San Jose reopened “The Jungle” off of Story Road and just across the street from Happy Hollow our large park for our youngest children? Is the water department going to city again to get the area cleaned up? How many millions of dollars will it take to complete this time? The city leadership has failed us once again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *