san josé, ca

 

Servant Partners' San José staff are planted in the Washington Guadalupe neighborhood, where they live among many undocumented, low-income neighbors.

The Washington Neighborhood includes approximately 12,000 residents.  The residential areas take up a little less than a square mile, for a population density of approximately 15,000 per square mile.  San José as a whole includes more than a million people in its sprawl.  Though it keeps a low profile relative to other U.S. cities of its size, San José is the tenth most populous city in the nation, and about 120,000 people larger than its more famous neighbor, San Francisco.  The Washington neighborhood is about 85% Latino, including a large number of recent immigrants.  Washington is often the “first stop” for Latin Americans coming to San José.  The drivers of San José’s economic success are high-tech engineering and computer companies – the city calls itself the “Capitol of Silicon Valley” – but not many Washington residents have such jobs.  Because so many residents are undocumented, landlords seem less concerned about upkeep and density restrictions.  People packing houses or apartments with multiple families or several adults is not uncommon.  This means that, despite the old age and lack of quality, rental prices in Washington are near the San José average.

In response to the high level of congestion in the high tech capitol of the Silicon Valley our work has two main thrusts.  One, Servant Partners staff engage in direct ministry with their neighbors, mostly around the theme of building friendships of mutual blessing between the materially rich and poor.  We are laying the foundation for bridging the gap between the rich and the poor by establishing "Circles of Support."  This is an innovative approach where the rich and poor are both trained to understand one another and build networks of relationships which are mutually transformative. Second, our staff lead a group of urban ministry interns, who are young adults exploring what it means to follow Christ's call to love their neighbors, locally and world-wide.  This creates an opportunity for those new to urban ministry to develop skills and understanding while living in Christian community.