Homeless Helping Keep Things Clean at San Jose’s Coyote Creek

The convergence of littering and the homeless has come together in a positive way at Coyote Creek in San Jose, CA. Since last October, a group that’s been dubbed the Coyote Creek Homeless Stream Stewards have been able to remove over 24 tons worth of trash from the area.

The effort, while still in the early stages, has resulted in more than $5,000 worth of private donations being used to purchase gift cards and provide items for what’s known as a “trash raffle.” The upcoming raffle in September will give away two bikes.

Given the transient nature of homelessness, the number of those taking part in the effort tends to fluctuate. That number usually doesn’t go above 20, though those take take part are fueled by both the chance to win $10 gift cards and also simply live in cleaner surroundings.

The idea was developed by Amanda Fukamoto, who has camped near Coyote Creek for years. During that time span, she noticed that not only the homeless were leaving trash but also those dumping illegally.

One of Fukamoto’s potential solutions to the issue would be to strike a deal with the homeless. In exchange for living in so-called “tiny houses” at Coyote Creek, the homeless would continue keeping things clean in that particular area. Those houses would only be approximately 350 square feet and could be moved, if necessary, since they’ll be atop wheels.

Fukamoto sees the project as a chance to give people down on their luck some dignity.