When The Unemployment Runs Out, So Do The Hot Showers

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.

Dan is homeless in Silicon Valley. When Dan’s unemployment compensation ran out four years ago he managed to stay indoors by going room-to-room at the homes of friends and family until finding himself on the street in 2011.

Business Insider met Dan in mid-July when a government medical team led us to his camp along a stretch of Coyote Creek in San Jose on a routine health visit.

The camp backs up to a community garden and major thoroughfare, and despite the close proximity to residents, Dan says local law enforcement leaves the couple dozen homeless people here alone.

“The police don’t bother us,” he says through a mouthful of granola bar given to him by a nurse. “And I really appreciate it.”

Dan gets by on $US147 a month in general assistance and has no idea how he’ll get off the street and back into a home. “I’d love to get housing,” he tells us. “Man a hot shower … yeah that’d be nice. Why can’t the government get me a room?”

Check out how Dan lives below, and click here for more on the Silicon Valley Homelessness.

Dan lost his home in 2009 when his unemployment benefits ran out and he’s been homeless for two years.

This is Dan’s camp along Coyote Creek in San Jose. Only steps away is a community garden and residential neighbourhood.

The difference between the residents sleeping a few hundred feet away and where Troy sleeps is immense.

The medical team visiting Dan try to keep the homeless as healthy as possible, but taking care of yourself out here isn’t easy.

The people here have a rapport with the medical team they have with no one else we’ve seen. Their concern is apparent and Dan is clearly enjoying this week’s visit.

What’s the most difficult part of being homeless?

“Homelessness has everything to do with intergalactic travel,” Dan tells us, a fantasy that provides him a mental escape from the harsh realities he lives in.

Click here to see just how big of a problem Silicon Valley faces.

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