A large homeless encampment is growing on the site Apple earmarked for its North San Jose campus, two years after Apple made waves with a $2.5 billion pledge to combat the Bay Area’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. What started as a few RVs parked on the side of Component Drive has grown over the past year into a sprawling camp of dozens of people, a maze of broken-down vehicles and a massive amount of trash scattered across the vacant, Apple-owned property. People with nowhere else to go live there in tents, RVs and wooden structures they built themselves. At least two children call the camp home.
Apple is trying to figure out what to do, but it’s a tough situation. Clearing the camp likely will be difficult both logistically — it’s more challenging to remove structures and vehicles that don’t run than tents — and ethically — there are few places for the displaced residents to go. Apple is “in talks with the city on a solution,” company spokeswoman Chloe Sanchez Sweet wrote in an email, without providing additional details.
The vacant land off Component Drive figured into Apple’s $2.5 billion commitment. Apple originally bought the land in a push to acquire real estate in North San Jose for a new tech campus, but so far, the company hasn’t done much to develop it. In 2019, the tech company promised to make $300 million of land it owns in San Jose available for new affordable housing — including a portion of the Component Drive property. But it’s unclear when anything might be built.