Society

America's Largest Homeless Camp is in Silicon Valley (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A 68-acre shantytown called "The Jungle" is home for about 300 homeless people, who live near Apple's headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Many of the homeless people living in "The Jungle" have jobs, but cannot afford the steep rents in San Jose, Calif., and Santa Clara County, which have the highest rate of homelessness in America (video below).

However, these homeless people are going to be pushed out of "The Jungle" on Wednesday per San Jose officials because of sanitation and safety issues.

"These people have houses, and even though they are not traditional homes, they have been living here for years," Robert Aguirre, a 60-year-old unemployed electrical engineer, told Mother Jones. "And now they are going to kick them out and they are going to be completely homeless."

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Aguirre's resume includes consulting for Dell, Apple, and Cisco, but the tech industry has outsourced many of its jobs to China and brought in foreign workers (H1Bs), which puts skilled U.S. workers out on the street, literally.

The City of San Jose is allocating $4 million in vouchers for 200 residents of "The Jungle," but the homeless people say they can't rent a home because the prices are too high and landlords expect perfect credit records, not a history of homelessness.

Business Insider reported in September 2013 that San Jose officials claimed the "chronically homeless" live in this "entrenchment." Officials cleared out "The Jungle" at the time, but it rose back up.

Some of the makeshift homes are built by people who have worked as professional carpenters.

A small creek that runs through "The Jungle" comes from water that runs off local roads, parking lots and land. The homeless people bathe and do their laundry in the creek.

The residents admit there are some dangerous characters living in "The Jungle," but take the risk because they have nowhere else to go.

Sources: Mother Jones, Business Insider