We Oppose Proposed RV Ban Near Schools

January 29, 2024

Re: 8.1 Regulating Oversized Vehicles & 8.2 Addressing Encampments and Oversized Vehicles Around Schools

Dear Mayor and City Council,

We are so disappointed in the City of San Jose’s direction to criminalize a symptom of a larger housing crisis that instead of addressing root causes of poverty, ignores them altogether and punishes a vulnerable population with already limited options - threatening to end up taking what may be many people’s only shelter.

Where exactly are people supposed to go? What exactly is being offered to people, when the need is so much greater than the housing resources available? How cruel is it that the Mayor of San Jose and council members intend to vote against our most vulnerable while we have seen you de-prioritize permanent housing solutions and practically ignore anti-displacement policies that would keep residents who are at risk of losing their housing in place.   

The proposals to regulate RV’s across the city and near school sites, that admittedly by city staff recommendations could increase the number of San Jose residents experiencing homelessness also call for an increase to the budget of our unaccountable & dangerous police and only digs us deeper into a problem. We know what hundreds of RV’s across the city signify: we need safe and stable housing. We need to do something different and not call sweeps, RV bans, ticketing and towing RV’s “progress.”

In those RV’s are people and entire families who need a home. There is no progress when San Jose only repeats a cycle of wasting time and money in a never-ending cycle of criminalizing poverty. The city could instead build up and invest in resources that don’t leave RV’s and the outdoors as the only affordable place for families to live. The bans are a war on the unhoused residents of San Jose.

As an organization that has worked with youth for over 20 years, we are acutely aware that there are many students in our city who are also struggling with housing insecurities, houseless themselves or have family who is. How is this ordinance going to make those young people feel safer or welcomed at their schools? We feel that the priority of this memo is to appear to be “tough on crime” or appear to be proactive on the “homeless problem” but at the root, does not address the systemic issues of poverty and homelessness, nor is it keeping kids safe and may actually cause irreversible harm to youth who are experiencing homelessness. We support keeping kids safe but we know we cannot criminalize our way to safety. Everyone deserves safety, whether they live indoors or not and the city should feel a responsibility to foster understanding, communication & solutions around the housing crisis instead of using the law as a tool of segregation and pitting our residents who all need care against each other.  

Reject the recommendations in items 8.1 & 8.2 and dig deep into our city budget to fund permanent housing solutions and decrease barriers to stable, affordable housing.


Sincerely on behalf of Silicon Valley De-Bug

De-Bug Letter to Rules Committee August 8, 2023

Tags: San Jose criminalization housing crisis