A crowd gathered in a vacant lot in San Jose Wednesday evening, candles in hand, to honor the four men who recently died from exposure to the cold.
“People don’t deserve to die out here. They (deserve) to have a warm house and bed,” said Christy Wong, as she clutched a lit candle and wiped away tears.
The vigil was held outside the homeless encampment known as “The Jungle”, home to nearly 120 homeless people.
Two of the men who died had camps there.
Marvin Blair knew one of the men.
“I’m here to say goodbye to my friend and to be a friend one more time,” Blair said.
Within the camp there were several who got ready to settle in for another cold night, unaware that two of their neighbors had died from the cold.
Juanita Campa moved to “The Jungle” two months ago.
“I never thought about this. This is, like, the worst thing that can happen to me and my kids,” said Campa as she lit a camping stove she uses it for cooking and for heat.
“Our tent gets frozen inside.” she said.
Campa’s seven children are with family in Reno. A 2-person tent in “The Jungle” is no place to raise them.
Many homeless advocates argue that a place with as much wealth as Silicone Valley should do more to help those in need. Currently there are more homeless people that there are shelter beds.
“This is Silicon Valley, the seat of innovation and forward thinking, so let’s do it and save lives, because this is preventable,” said Pastor Scott Wagers of Cham Ministry.
Wagers is a regular at the camp, handing out blankets on cold nights.
Many volunteers were out Wednesday bringing blankets and food to the camp and letting the residents know they were not forgotten in the cold.