'I'm Scared That I'm Going To Die Out Here'

Transient Woman Appeals For Help During Homeless Count

Matt Bigler
January 29, 2019 - 1:40 pm

SAN JOSE — Volunteers will be doing a head count of homeless people living in the Santa Clara Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The count puts pressure on San Jose leaders to quickly develop housing programs that can reduce the population of transients. 

A KCBS Radio reporter walked with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and volunteers on Tuesday morning as they tallied up the number of people living on the streets, and in cars or RVs near downtown San Jose. 

After two hours of walking, they found 85 people without homes. Some of them were in distress. 

"I'm really sick and I'm scared that I'm going to die out here," said Marsha Lyn Beckard who was was trying to stay warm and dry beneath the awning of a shuttered bar. 

She said that 20 people had ignored her request to use a cellphone to call a homeless shelter Home First. KCBS Radio contacted Home First, which sent a driver to pick up Beckard. 

Afterward, Liccardo said that his team's count was probably low for the area that they canvassed. 

"It's pretty stark out there," said Liccardo. "A lot of folks living on the street." 

The 2017 homeless census found more than 7,300 homeless people in Santa Clara county. 

Liccardo hopes that the number  will be smaller and pointed to 2,000 units of low-income housing and emergency housing, such as cabins, are in the pipeline.

The results of the census will be released this summer.