SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – Almost 30 homeless people have died on the streets of San Jose since the start of 2022, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. As the city prepares for the weather to get cold this week, KRON4’s checked in on what’s being done to keep them warm and safe.

For Ray Lengenegger, a small plywood box with wheels is home. It also has a solar panel to power a small light and charge his phone. During this week’s forecasted cold weather, it’s where he’ll keep warm. 

“They are freezing out here if they don’t have a tent or somewhere to go to,” he said.

The Santa Clara County Coroner says 28 homeless people have died this year. Lengenegger says he saw at least two of them.

“They found his body over there at Diridon Station at 1:30 a.m. in the morning,” Lengenegger said. “And they have another body over there from someone who died from fentanyl.”

The weather also plays a key role. Officials say the last time there was a cold snap, multiple people died. The city and county plan to open up overnight warming centers, but advocates say that’s not enough.

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“You only have two overnight warming locations for 8,000 people,” said Shaunn Cartwright with the Unhoused Response Group. “That’s for like 50 people out of 8,000 and you can only take one animal and one belonging, and for a lot of people completely impractical.”

Cartwright has been passing out blankets to unsheltered people. She says the city needs to open up more shelters, and she is fighting to bring that number up to five.

Lengenegger says he won’t be looking for a warming center. Instead, he will ride out the cold in his $70 micro-home.

“If you’re outside you can feel that, but in here you can’t,” he said.

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