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San Jose dismantles trailer park built to house elderly homeless people during pandemic


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    SAN JOSE, CA (KPIX) — Just a month after its long-awaited opening, a makeshift trailer park for the homeless is being dismantled in the parking lot of the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

“I was a bit upset about it, because I had just moved in. I still hadn’t gotten situated in there yet, but hey, what can you do?” asked Darriel Trotter, a former park resident.

Trotter says the Abode, a homeless services contractor found him a hotel room to move into.

“It’s the Holiday Inn in Sunnyvale, it’s a nice place. It was a nice place here too,” he said.

The trailers, once used to house fire victims, were given to San Jose by the state of California to house elderly homeless people during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We experimented with an innovative solution in an unprecedented public health challenge,” said Ragan Henninger of the San Jose Housing Department.

Henninger said many of the trailers came damaged and San Jose spent $1.3 million in repairs and building an RV park from scratch.

But access issues for some of the residents, plus recurring sewage and electrical emergencies doomed the project.

“We just decided in the best interest of these vulnerable, older adults, that a hotel was a better option,” Henninger said.

The city now isn’t sure what to do with the trailers and they might go back to the state. Just blocks from the site, homeless camps are still taking over city blocks.

Advocates for homeless people like Shaunn Cartwright want the trailers to be repurposed for other homeless people.

“There’s 90 trailers here and they’re being demobilized. Why aren’t the being filled with other people who need these trailers?” asks Cartwright.

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