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Apple in talks with San Jose over homeless encampment on its undeveloped land

Source: Richard Scott via Vice

Apple is facing a potential problem in San Jose, with an increasing number of homeless people trickling into an owned plot of undeveloped land as nearby encampments are cleared out.

CBS affiliate KPIX last week reported inhabitants of homeless clusters near the Mineta San Jose International Airport are making their way to larger parcels of land owned by Apple.

The exodus from Mineta to Apple's plots supposedly began when the City of San Jose proceeded with an "enhanced cleanup" at the airport in recent weeks, a project urged on by the Federal Aviation Administration. There are currently between 30 and 100 residents living in the approximately 55-acre patchwork of land parcels, a chunk of which was purchased for $138 million in 2015. Inhabitants have set up in RVs, tents, and vehicles, while Vice reports dumpsters and portable toilets are also on the scene.

Homeless people who have been living on Apple's land say the company and management has not made attempts to push them off the property.

"I'm grateful that they don't kick us out," Renee Corona, an inhabitant who lived on the parcel for nearly two years, told Vice. "I just want to say thank you. They don't bother us."

Crime appears to be a minor issue and some inhabitants leave trash strewn about, but others, like a 40-year-old woman who goes by "Tigs," are trying to better the area.

"The people that are living here, we'd like Apple to know we'd like to try to make this a healthier environment," she said. "We want to make it eco-friendly and create systems for water consumption and energy."

San Jose City Council member David Cohen is attempting to meet with Apple to discuss the situation, Vice reports.

"We're setting up a meeting so that I can begin to talk to them about what we might be able to do to help the people who are living there, and to figure out some plan for offering services," Cohen said.

Apple said it has "been in talks with the city to find a solution," the report said.

The Vice report also notes that the growing population at Apple's property might not be a direct result of the airport-related effort. One person who currently lives on airport land didn't see evidence that the Apple camp was taking on many people from the airport tract, while Richard Scott, former supervisor for Santa Clara County's mental health homeless team, concurred.

In any case, the encampment at Apple's undeveloped property is quickly growing.

News of the homeless camp arrives as Apple metes out funds from a $2.5 billion fund commitment to ease California's housing shortage. The company on Wednesday said it has put $1 billion toward the initiative.

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