SAN JOSE – With a punishing storm on its doorstep, the city of San Jose on Tuesday night proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a mandatory evacuation order for unhoused residents who live near some of the metropolis’ major waterways.
Signed by City Manager Jennifer Maguire, the proclamation gives the city the emergency powers it needs to respond to storm events, according to a city news release.
“San Jose is taking this extra precautionary step during this storm surge to protect our residents, particularly our most vulnerable unhoused neighbors,” Mayor Matt Mahan said in the release. “We want to make sure all residents are informed and prepared to stay safe, and that city staff has the ability to move quickly to relocate encampments that are in harm’s way.”
Teams have been dispatched to notify people of weather conditions, recommend they move, help find shelter and deliver supplies to those who choose to remain outside, according to the news release.
In addition, the city on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning will broadcast the evacuation order via a “long-range audio device,” and police will issue loud speaker announcements along Coyote Creek, the Guadalupe River and Penitencia Creek.
“Together with our partners, we are working to notify our unhoused residents in or near our creeks of the danger of flooding in inclement weather and assist them to shelter and safety,” Maguire said in the news release. “This proclamation will direct the evacuation of all people living along our rivers, creeks and waterways and enable us to ensure that we reach and evacuate people from those dangerous locations.”
Unhoused residents were not being forcefully removed from waterways as of Tuesday night, but the proclamation gives the city that power if needed, said Rachael Davis, a spokesperson for the mayor.
The city said it is working to add more beds to its shelters. Overnight warming locations remain in operation at the Roosevelt Community Center and West Valley Branch Library. The locations, which are available by referral only, are open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.; unhoused residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408-539-2105.
Additional shelters are available through Santa Clara County, and unhoused residents can contact the Here4You Call Center at 408-385-2400 to find a placement.
Check back for updates.
Staff writers Katie Lauer and Gabriel Lorenzo Greschler contributed to this report.