With temperatures expected to reach freezing overnight Wednesday, people from the Community Homeless Alliance Ministry were handing out blankets and jackets to the homeless at a large encampment near Kelley Park in East San Jose.
One of the recipients spoke to KTVU, he said he lost his job as a handyman about a year ago and shortly thereafter lost his home.
That man, who only told KTVU his first name, Johnny, is one of about 150 people living in the homeless camp in the ravine.
He says the recent cold nights have been brutal.
“The cold wakes me up. I have to start roaming around to stay warm,” Johnny said.
The cold snap has pushed county officials to launch its cold weather shelter program this week. Officials say they expect to be at full capacity by Wednesday night. Johnny says he is thinking about going.
“Actually, I am already there out the door ready to knock,” said Johnny.
He may not get an answer if he does knock since there are only 100 emergency beds in San Jose for an estimated 4,000 people.
One woman, named Marie, says she wouldn’t go to the shelter because there is no privacy.
She tells KTVU she’s getting through the bitter cold nights as best she can.
“Very cold. Especially when you walk down you can feel the temperature drop, and it gets ice cold to where your fingers hurt with gloves on,” Marie said.
County officials say it’s rare for anyone to freeze to death in the South Bay but the cold can exacerbate other medical conditions such as diabetes and make people much sicker.
For now, the homeless here say they are preparing for another rough night but are happy to have fresh blankets.