Updated: Sep 8
We have heard from many of you recently regarding the increase in homeless activity along Coyote Creek, Guadalupe River, and other waterways. The situation is challenging for us as well, and unfortunately, there is no easy solution. Several agencies, including Valley Water, are working together on programs and efforts aimed at addressing the homeless crisis, including housing, social services, and trash removal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated these issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance to stop clearing encampments due to the risk of spreading the virus. Following this guidance, the City of San Jose and Valley Water paused encampment cleanups. However, over the next few weeks, the City, with assistance from Valley Water, will be cleaning up trash on Coyote Creek from Highway 280 to Williams Street without disturbing the encampments. The City will notify you about the cleanups in your area.
Community concerns relating to fires and unwanted or illegal behaviors in and around the encampments are outside Valley Water’s authority to act and are best handled by City resources. In May 2019, Valley Water partnered with the San Jose Police Department to help with this growing issue and to better protect residents, staff and the environment. This agreement pays for officers to target criminal activity along local waterways within the City of San Jose, including Coyote Creek and Guadalupe River.
That agreement is in addition to a partnership we established with the City several years ago to address homeless encampments and trash. To best serve the public, one of the goals is to allow for a shared response between our agencies and perform the work on both City and Valley Water properties.
Valley Water is able to pay for these programs and services to the community through the voter approved Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. Valley Water will continue to work with the City of San Jose to remove trash around encampments and will resume encampment cleanups once CDC guidelines allow.
Please contact Jennifer Codianne, Acting Deputy Officer for Watersheds Operations and Maintenance, at firstname.lastname@example.org for follow-up information.
The City’s referral contact for homeless issues is email@example.com
You may also use our online system at:
Director, District 2
Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors