This story is a part of Business Insider’s “Homeless In Silicon Valley” series reported by Robert Johnson and edited by Chris C. Anderson. Jill Klausen and graphic designer Mike Nudelman contributed to this series.
The Jungle is the largest of many Silicon Valley homeless encampments, and the 65 acres bordering Coyote Creek in San Jose can be home to up to 175 people at a time.
From kids to convicts to mums and dads and the mentally ill, The Jungle is a desperate mix of people out of whatever options they might have once had.
When Business Insider visited The Jungle over the course of a week in mid-July the city was getting ready to clear the homeless out again after they had just settled back in from a previous eviction.
It’s a back-and-forth with no easy answers as Silicon Valley’s cost of living increases, but the jobs and affordable housing needed to keep its poorest residents inside and off the streets remains unseen.
Business Insider visited The Jungle several times in mid-July to talk to the people who live here and see what their lives are like.
Officials say only the 'chronically homeless' settle in places like this in Silicon Valley, but that's not true.
For some people this is the last stop on a decline that started with losing a job or fighting an illness.
The woman who lives here lost her business and has a daughter who often lives in a neighbouring camp.
GiGi got lucky and has moved into an apartment since we met her in July, but she was a long-term resident of The Jungle.
Jeri found a burnt corpse along the river in The Jungle and says it's not uncommon to hear threats of 'burning people out' of their tents while they're asleep inside.
Mama Red has a daughter who intended to give birth in camp and she's added children's toys and additional tents to her site for them.
A lot of time and effort has gone into many of these Jungle encampments. San Jose city officials call this type of semi-permanent camp an 'entrenchment.'
People here feel any type of barrier protecting them from their more unstable neighbours is simply a good thing.
The scores of homeowners in nearby neighborhoods are concerned the longer people stay, the greater the chance Jungle fires could spread to their homes, as this one nearly did in July.
The city has to do something to address the health and safety concerns brought on by people living here.
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