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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2021
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.

San Jose Homeless Encampment
Source: Richard Scott via Vice


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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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    mrd10mrd10 Posts: 6member
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    gregoriusmlordjohnwhorfinjcs2305chemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 45
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,766member
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    You paint a lovely black/white image here, but unfortunately the situation is a little murkier than that. What happens when word gets out and suddenly 5000 people show up expecting something? What happens if crime suddenly becomes an issue? What happens when Apple finally needs to develop that land? What happens when homeless camps set up shop on unused corporate land all over the country looking to leverage that company’s PR image for help, and they all blame Apple for setting the precedent? What happens when Apple decides “enough is enough”?
    What then?

    Yes, you present a nice, utopian solution to the problem & your heart is in the right place. But, Apple needs to tread carefully here to avoid painting themselves into a corner they cannot escape. The fact that they haven’t done anything yet and are carefully considering a proper response shows that they know it too. 

    gregoriusmdbvaporelijahgBeatsdewmelkruppmwhitered oakforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 45
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 585member
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?
    dbvaporbloggerblogred oakthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 45
    Some of them have been there almost two years. It only takes five years of continuous use to gain squatter rights in CA.
    forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 45
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,455member
    These are drug addicts, they’re all over where I live. They’re a nuisance, dirty, stealing, loud, and wherever they go, their area looks like a dumpster (see photos). It’s not a “homeless“ problem, it’s a drug addiction problem. If you give them any sort of help, you’ll just see more needles and more trash around them. 
    I have been to areas where there were real homeless that are not hooked on drugs, they were clean, their area did not look like a dumpster, and they showered often. Those id like to see get help. They’re looking to get jobs and live a decent life. 
    Beatslkruppwilliamlondonred oakthtMicDorseyforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 45
    longpathlongpath Posts: 391member
    Because of precedents it might set, existing squatters’ rights laws, whether legislation or common law, & PR issues, it seems like the best option would be to purchase land elsewhere, set up a tiny house cooperative, and give each of those individuals their own unit. It solves the PR issue, gets these folks out of the potential harms way that any future construction project on that land might present, ensures that any ecological mishap by these people isn’t wrongly attributed to Apple, and offers a substantial tax write off. That it also resolves the situation without taxing the people of San Jose is the best part of this hypothetical scenario.
    Ofer
  • Reply 7 of 45
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    These are drug addicts, they’re all over where I live. They’re a nuisance, dirty, stealing, loud, and wherever they go, their area looks like a dumpster (see photos). It’s not a “homeless“ problem, it’s a drug addiction problem. If you give them any sort of help, you’ll just see more needles and more trash around them. 
    I have been to areas where there were real homeless that are not hooked on drugs, they were clean, their area did not look like a dumpster, and they showered often. Those id like to see get help. They’re looking to get jobs and live a decent life. 

    It's been shown that many or most homeless have untreated mental health issues.  But many with mental health issues self-medicate with street drugs.
    dewmemknelsonOferjcs2305forgot username
  • Reply 8 of 45
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?

    For the last 20-40 years the U.S. government has been more concerned about helping the the top 1% rather than the bottom 1%.

    But, what are they to do?
    Aiding those who are already homeless is like filling a bottomless pit.
    It takes resolving the societal issues that caused them to be homeless.  But generally we either don't know what those issues are or are in denial over them.

    One big cause, for instance, is the closure of state mental institutions and "freeing those inmates" -- many of whom ended up living under a bridge.  Should we reopen those institutions?   The one by me was self contained and self sustaining and used to house 4,000 patients and it supplied them with jobs in the greenhouse, farm, bakery, butcher shop, etc...

    That institution was originally opened in the early 19th century to house what we today call "homeless" but morphed into being strictly a long tern care mental hospital -- caring for those who could not care for themselves.   It served a purpose.   But few would argue in favor of reopening it.  So, now we complain about the "homeless problem".
    edited July 2021 muthuk_vanalingamOferthttzx4forgot username
  • Reply 9 of 45
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,766member
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?

    For the last 245 years the U.S. government has been more concerned about helping the the top 1% rather than the bottom 1%.
    Fixed it for you. 
    edited July 2021 mknelsonOferdewmetht
  • Reply 10 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    Complete gibberish. Try talking to actual, front line social workers. I have, the head of our local food pantry. First of all, they recommend that people not give any money to these souls as it would be used to buy drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weed, not food. Instead, offer them information about where to go to get food, clothing, shelter, etc. Secondly, these souls are not interested in being housed in the first place because of their mental illness. They have refused treatment and seek solitude in their condition. 

    Bottom line is that the culture doesn’t have the guts to deal with the situation. Instead it just throws flowery, humanist cliches around, a little money, and lot of hand wringing about the evils of capitalism. These souls need to be handled kindly but firmly, making treatment, counseling, and responsibility mandatory, and with active monitoring. But imagine the protests and outrage if that were to be implemented. Nope, just hang the Albatross around some company’s neck as you suggest Apple DO something.
    edited July 2021 forgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 45
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 838member
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?
    Well….the government cannot govern, the homelessness are huge and serious problems but not worthy for votes counts. 
  • Reply 12 of 45
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,938member
    The causes of this are myriad, and most are things that should be fixed ‘upstream,’ but politics prevents it. 

    There is nowhere in the US where someone working full time at minimum wage can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. It’s not just the cost of rent and real estate at play here. 

    If a business bought its raw materials at below cost and expected government and others to pay the difference, everyone would be angry at the business and expect it to carry its own weight or close up shop. When the same business buys labor at below cost, everyone defends the practice and blames the workers for not deserving to be paid enough to cover the costs to survive and show up to work. 

    If cost-of-living-based minimum wage was enforced, consumers would spend more in direct costs for some things in order to pay workers’ basic wages, but we’d spend a lot less on government programs to subsidize housing, food and programs for homeless people. Which do you think is more efficient? Paying the costs of labor directly through the goods and services the labor produces, or subsidizing those same costs through charity and government programs?

    Next, we blame people who have mental health problems for having mental health problems. We’ve been conditioned to think it’s just weakness and lack of willpower, instead of acknowledging it’s a health issue, just like heart conditions or cancer. As noted above, state mental health hospitals have shuttered nationwide. Conservatives think they’re saving money, and liberals think they’re giving people personal autonomy by making it next-to-impossible to commit a severely mentally ill person to a mental hospital. The result is mentally ill people living on the street doing mentally ill things, and the public blaming local authorities for impossible problems they didn’t create. 

    I could go on about addiction next. There is a direct line from corrupt pharmaceutical companies marketing opiates as ‘harmless’ and people lying in the street with needles sticking out of their arms. 

    The list goes on. We can take responsibility for our civilization, check our political theologies at the door and go upstream to fix these problems at a lower cost, or we can let it all tumble out into the streets and be angry at people who didn’t actually cause the problems in the first place. 
    muthuk_vanalingamOferwilliamlondonGeorgeBMacdewmeforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 45
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?
    Not my problem, I'm alright jack.
  • Reply 14 of 45
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    Some of them have been there almost two years. It only takes five years of continuous use to gain squatter rights in CA.

    I’m pretty sure squatter rights only apply to land/structures zoned as residential property. There’s a reason commercial and residential building/safety codes and standards are different.

    For Apple to allow these people to live there, they would have to get the property re-zoned as residential, otherwise it could become a huge liability issue; people getting hurt or sick from environmental issues, etc.
    edited July 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 45
    OferOfer Posts: 229unconfirmed, member
    AppleZulu said:
    The causes of this are myriad, and most are things that should be fixed ‘upstream,’ but politics prevents it. 

    There is nowhere in the US where someone working full time at minimum wage can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. It’s not just the cost of rent and real estate at play here. 

    If a business bought its raw materials at below cost and expected government and others to pay the difference, everyone would be angry at the business and expect it to carry its own weight or close up shop. When the same business buys labor at below cost, everyone defends the practice and blames the workers for not deserving to be paid enough to cover the costs to survive and show up to work. 

    If cost-of-living-based minimum wage was enforced, consumers would spend more in direct costs for some things in order to pay workers’ basic wages, but we’d spend a lot less on government programs to subsidize housing, food and programs for homeless people. Which do you think is more efficient? Paying the costs of labor directly through the goods and services the labor produces, or subsidizing those same costs through charity and government programs?

    Next, we blame people who have mental health problems for having mental health problems. We’ve been conditioned to think it’s just weakness and lack of willpower, instead of acknowledging it’s a health issue, just like heart conditions or cancer. As noted above, state mental health hospitals have shuttered nationwide. Conservatives think they’re saving money, and liberals think they’re giving people personal autonomy by making it next-to-impossible to commit a severely mentally ill person to a mental hospital. The result is mentally ill people living on the street doing mentally ill things, and the public blaming local authorities for impossible problems they didn’t create. 

    I could go on about addiction next. There is a direct line from corrupt pharmaceutical companies marketing opiates as ‘harmless’ and people lying in the street with needles sticking out of their arms. 

    The list goes on. We can take responsibility for our civilization, check our political theologies at the door and go upstream to fix these problems at a lower cost, or we can let it all tumble out into the streets and be angry at people who didn’t actually cause the problems in the first place. 
    👏

    yes, very well-put! Thank you.
    williamlondonGeorgeBMacdewmekurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 45
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,336member
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?
    Because the government has clearly failed. California's homeless population has exploded in the last decade or so. It went up by over 10K year over year from Jan 2019- Jan 2020. Apple doing something is sure to draw considerable attention which may give politicians the kick in the ass they need to help with a problem they helped create.  Maybe it won't, but with a homeless increase of 24% from 2018-2020 alone and a homeless population of nearly 170K in their state they sure as hell need to do something.




  • Reply 17 of 45
    michelb76 said:
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?
    The #1 reason would be that said commercial company is a huge part of the problem: high paying tech jobs are driving up housing costs and overall costs of living to a point where non-tech workers can’t afford a living. A crappy, minuscule studio apartment rents for $2500/month in San Jose. How do you afford this plus food plus a car (not an option in CA) on $15/hour wages?
    No, the homeless problem used to be directly related to drugs and mental health, but that’s not true any longer. I fly in and out of San Jose all the time and just a few days ago noticed this encampment had grown to massive proportions. 
    We can do better, and while I don’t think homelessness issues should be visited on the owner of the land they’re squatting, it’s clear tech companies in general are a huge contributing cause to this problem, and therefore they should be compelled to be part of a solution.
    So they can either choose to take a proactive stance, or wait until local government succumbs to resident pressure to hike up their tax contributions in order to take care of the problem. Option A seems better for all parties involved.
    elijahg
  • Reply 18 of 45
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,115member
    lkrupp said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    Complete gibberish. Try talking to actual, front line social workers. I have, the head of our local food pantry. First of all, they recommend that people not give any money to these souls as it would be used to buy drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weed, not food. Instead, offer them information about where to go to get food, clothing, shelter, etc. Secondly, these souls are not interested in being housed in the first place because of their mental illness. They have refused treatment and seek solitude in their condition. 

    Bottom line is that the culture doesn’t have the guts to deal with the situation. Instead it just throws flowery, humanist cliches around, a little money, and lot of hand wringing about the evils of capitalism. These souls need to be handled kindly but firmly, making treatment, counseling, and responsibility mandatory, and with active monitoring. But imagine the protests and outrage if that were to be implemented. Nope, just hang the Albatross around some company’s neck as you suggest Apple DO something.
    Strangely, in the very conservative south eastern Albertan town of Medicine Hat…
     
    https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/medicine-hat-becomes-first-canadian-community-to-eradicate-chronic-homelessness-1.5454057

    Housing is an important step in brining people off addictions, getting them mental health assistance, jobs.
    forgot username
  • Reply 19 of 45
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Japhey said:
    michelb76 said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    I don't understand why a commercial company should step up to fix the government's neglect?

    For the last 245 years the U.S. government has been more concerned about helping the the top 1% rather than the bottom 1%.
    Fixed it for you. 

    That mostly started with the American indsutrial revolution of the late 19th century -- prior to that the U.S. was mostly an agrarian society.  Since then its gone back and forth -- between the likes of Hoover, Roosevelt, Johnson, Reagan.  But since Reagan its been mostly promoting the top 1%
  • Reply 20 of 45
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    lkrupp said:
    mrd10 said:
    I feel like this is a really great opportunity for Apple to use its endless wealth to truly help their neighborhood. If Apple does absolutely nothing, scorns the homeless, and forces them away, they would have a massive PR problem. This is honestly kind of a marketing gift. Spend a chunk of change (which is pennies to Apple), do something magical with that Apple swirl on top, and poof. You demonstrate all your values, put your money where your mouth is, AND directly help the lives of the people in your own back yard. It’s a win/win and would cost them nothing. 
    Complete gibberish. Try talking to actual, front line social workers. I have, the head of our local food pantry. First of all, they recommend that people not give any money to these souls as it would be used to buy drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weed, not food. Instead, offer them information about where to go to get food, clothing, shelter, etc. Secondly, these souls are not interested in being housed in the first place because of their mental illness. They have refused treatment and seek solitude in their condition. 

    Bottom line is that the culture doesn’t have the guts to deal with the situation. Instead it just throws flowery, humanist cliches around, a little money, and lot of hand wringing about the evils of capitalism. These souls need to be handled kindly but firmly, making treatment, counseling, and responsibility mandatory, and with active monitoring. But imagine the protests and outrage if that were to be implemented. Nope, just hang the Albatross around some company’s neck as you suggest Apple DO something.

    Having been one of the people who worked with this population (the severely and persistently mentally ill living in the community), it's not so much that they choose to go it alone.  The vast majority would love to have a nice, stable place to live and food when they are hungry.   Rather, they simply can't function in organized society and, when they do get housing, they often lose it for unacceptable behavior of one sort or another.

    A complicating factor for them is that, without any sort of support system (friends, family, job, etc.) a minor problem quickly expands into a major breakdown.

    I think your social worker friends may have over simplified the situation.   I suspect that they were hospital based rather than actually working in the community with these people.  I found that rigid, rule based thinking very common among hospital workers.

    * I noticed you mentioned food pantries:  They tend to be pretty rigid and rule based too -- they have to be to maintain order.   But few of my patients were allowed into the food pantries or shelters.   A few were, but very few.

    Added;   For many the best option were one of the run down, dirty, smelly personal boarding homes with few rules -- except no fighting and don't bust the place up.  My very first patient (as a student) was committed to a long term state hospital for the mentally ill after throwing a TV set (the old kind) at his fellow residents in the personal care home.   Yeh, those places are deplorable -- but they're better than under a bridge in a snow storm.
    edited July 2021 crowleyforgot usernameJWSC
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