1) The City Council allocated $4 million dollars in the 2015-2016 budget for case workers and encampment abatements and have initiated many efforts, led by the Housing Department, to get people housed.


2) On 9/22/15 City Council voted to pursue the purchase of the Plaza Hotel from the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency (SARA), and on 12/15/16, SARA and the Council approved the sale at the appraised value of $740,000 http://bit.ly/Homels6. On 3/15/16, the Council authorized the Housing Department to enter into an agreement with Abode Services to operate the property, and to spend up to $1.8M renovating the property. Renovations are expected to take three to six months, and the first tenants 10 are expected before the end of the year.

  • The Plaza Hotel will serve individuals who have either a City or County housing coupon who are categorized as transitionally homeless. These individuals have the ability to seek and gain employment, do not demonstrate debilitating psychological or chemical dependency issues, and therefore have the ability to eventually become independent. Since these individuals are not considered chronically homeless, the goal of the Project is for the duration of their tenancy to be relatively brief, until a longer-term or permanent housing option is available and/or they become self-sufficient.


 











3) On 12/8/15 the City Council declared a Shelter Crisis in anticipation of harsh El Nino weather, allowing for warming centers to be opened at Bascom Community Center, Tully Community Library, Washington United Youth Center, and Bibliotheca Branch Library. http://bit.ly/Homels7

 




4) Early in 2016, the City Council voted to alleviate some of the red tape connected with houses of worship opening their doors as temporary inclement weather shelters for the most vulnerable in our community.

  • Each congregation that participated housed a maximum of 15 individuals for up to 35 days.
  • At the end of their stay, the individuals were moved to a different participating house of worship. Ten churches participated in this pilot effort, including one in District 10, and housed over 100 homeless during the harshest part of the winter months.
  • It was so successful that many churches asked for the program to be expanded to the summer months where extreme heat can negatively affect the health of our elderly homeless population. I have co-authored a memo with my colleague Pierluigi Oliverio that will be heard at the June 28th Council meeting that, if approved, will allow churches to shelter up to 25 homeless for up to 35 days, two times per year.
  • A short video of Holy Spirit Church’s experience with this pilot project can be seen at http://bit.ly/1Xum4lB-HSVideo


 5) I was on the losing end of a recent vote to pursue City-sanctioned homeless encampments.

  • A majority of my Council colleagues chose to have the Housing Department work to develop sanctioned encampments, over the objections of Housing Department staff. I am not convinced that sanctioned encampments will work toward solving the homelessness issues in our community, nor do I want us to establish permanent encampments. Unfortunately, in other cities where encampments were meant to be a temporary solution, many have now been in place for ten or more years. Regardless, I will continue to work to ensure that any sanctioned encampments that are ultimately proposed are not placed in our residential neighborhoods or far from supportive services and transit.
  • In 2015, the City’s Housing Department presented several options for providing our homeless population with permanent housing, and I have supported all of the department’s recommendations related to establishing supportive housing and focusing federal and other housing funds on constructing more units to house the homeless. Taking our attention away from permanent housing and shifting it toward establishing a sanctioned encampment will cost us:                                                               - over $270,000 in annual operating costs

          - over $550,000 in service costs.

  • It will also delay the development of permanent and supportive housing units.
  • We have a finite amount of money to invest in solving the homeless issue in our City, and taking money and staff time away from permanent housing seems ill-advised. Here is the memo prepared by our Housing director regarding this issue: http://bit.ly/1UyTgq0-cityencpmt


 

 








6) Authorization of Housing funds to be used to acquire the Santa Clara Inn and partner with Abode Services to provide 56 units of supportive housing for the homeless. http://bit.ly/Homels8

7) Establishment of a pilot transitional housing community to address the immediate housing needs of homeless individuals utilizing 16 modular housing units, each having six to eight private rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. http://bit.ly/Homels9

 





8) In the December Priority Setting Session, Council asked staff in Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement to evaluate and recommend changes that would expand the City’s Secondary Unit Ordinance. Changes they are looking at include modifying the restrictions on such units, which are currently only allowed in areas zoned R-1, and expanding the ordinance to allow Secondary Units in other zoning areas such as R-2 and other multi-housing zones. These changes would expand the ability of homeowners to build small, secondary residential units on existing lots, which can then be made available for rent. The Secondary Unit Ordinance can be found in the City’s Municipal Code at http://bit.ly/1WS5rjQ-SUO.


  • I recently learned that the CA State Senate is also looking at streamlining the secondary unit process. On June 14th, the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee approved AB2299, which would require local governments to allow the building of Secondary Units. San Jose has allowed Secondary Units for many years now, but the State regulations may alter some of our current requirements. You can read more at http://bit.ly/1rtMk1R-hmls58.


 9) The City Council also directed the Housing Department to coordinate their efforts with the County. On February 23rd, the Director of Housing reported to the City Council on the work occurring between the City and the County. View the Council meeting here: http://bit.ly/1PwZVLI-hmls54

10) The Mayor’s June Budget Message includes a recommendation to expand the Downtown Streets Team program that provides jobs to the homeless. In Fiscal Years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, the Council appropriated funds to Downtown Streets Team for expansion of this critical program to Monterey Road. In addition to providing a critical service for our neighborhoods, it gives homeless individuals jobs. This year's 2016-2017 budget allocates $330,000 to start expanding this model throughout the City. To ensure that we sustain the investments we have made along Monterey Highway, the Mayor recommend the City Manager allocate $100,000 from the General Fund to continue this program for another year. 

What's Being Done?  

San Jose Citywide Homeless Outreach & Engagement Program
408-510-7600


Outreach workers will respond within one business day to reports of homeless persons living on the streets and in encampments. 

1) Volunteer with, or donate to, one of the many non-profits that serve the homeless; help out at a sanctioned local meal site; volunteer with a church or other house of worship that is providing temporary shelter. If you focus your efforts on services that provide food, shelter, and supportive resources to the homeless, in a structured environment, you can make a positive impact.


  • For a very large list of groups that you can work with to assist the homeless in a constructive way, visit the City’s webpage on Ending Homelessness at http://bit.ly/1Um1v7u-EndHmlsns and click on the link for the “Homeless Resource Guide” near the bottom of the page.


2) ​​If you notice an encampment forming in or near your neighborhood, please contact the Homeless Hotline at 408-510-7600, or outreach@homefirstscc.org and report the location with as much detail as you are able to provide.


3) If the encampment is located on Caltrans property, in addition to reporting it to the Homeless Hotline, report the encampment on the Caltrans website at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/msrsubmit/.







4) Reports of the encampments are appreciated, since we relay these reports to the City’s Homeless Response Team so they can begin the process of getting help to the homeless and getting encampments remediated.


  • When a homeless encampment is reported, the HomelessResponse Team sends out an assessment team to evaluate the needs of the people in the encampment and offers services that may be available to them.
  • They also determine who controls the property where the encampment is located and work with the property owner to get a 72-hour Notice to Vacate issued.
  • The City cannot abate an encampment without first giving homeless residents this notice.
  • The notice includes a warning that the encampment inhabitants must separate the property they want to keep from the property they want discarded.
  • The City must store any property that will not stay with the homeless but that they wish to keep.
  • The noticing and property requirements come from court decisions that sanctioned cities that didn’t follow this protocol.
  • The entire process can take time, and because of the court protections built in, the City cannot immediately remove any encampment.

Homelessness, along with other Health & Human Services, is the primary responsibility of the County of Santa Clara. They receive state and federal funds to support their efforts. However, because homelessness presents such big challenges to the City, we dedicate a portion of our City budget to partnering with the County to aid in their efforts to end homelessness.

The 2015 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey revealed that there are 6,556 homeless persons living within the County of Santa Clara - over 4,000 of whom are living within the borders of the City of San Jose. At least 39% of the homeless have serious addiction and/or mental health issues, and these and other challenges make this a problem that cannot be easily solved or solved using a one-size-fits-all approach.

What Can You Do To Help?

1-877-428-8844 (toll free) 


Free Housing Search Database & Support Center 

www.scchousingsearch.org 

Homeless Outreach 

In February 2015, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to create a new Homelessness Task Force, which includes a Councilmember from San Jose.

Below are some of the things that local governments, non-profits, faith communities, and individuals are doing to help those who find themselves in this difficult situation.



 

The homeless population is very diverse and faces complicated challenges.

Here is a link that will give you a good overview of what our community is dealing with in addressing the impacts of homelessness: 

​​http://bit.ly/1Q9CzBB-hmls51

Please bear in mind that the City remains short staffed in many of our services and I ask for your patience in dealing with a particular encampment. If your situation becomes frustrating, don’t hesitate to contact my office via email at district10@sanjoseca.gov or by phone at 408-535-4910. If you see something going on at an encampment that presents an immediate threat to public safety, please do not hesitate to call the SJPD at 9-1-1 (408-277-8911 from a mobile device).


Housing & Supportive Services  

In the fall of 2013, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved $4 million a year toward a permanent supportive housing fund. More than 20 local partners, including the County, the City of San Jose, other agencies, nonprofits, and businesses, joined together to help House 1,000 chronically homeless in Santa Clara County. 

  • These are people who often have been outdoors for years and are struggling with substance abuse and mental-health problems.
  • They also are most likely to trigger police and fire department calls, often ending up in jail or in emergency rooms, or using other costly public services.
  • By the end of 2014, 850 homeless men, women, and families had been put into permanent supportive housing.

For more information visit the Destination Home website at: http://bit.ly/1tzismC-desthome

Housing for Families

with Children  

An important consideration in evaluating the effects of homelessness are the costs to the community. Here is a link to an assessment of the costs associated with our homeless population:


 http://bit.ly/23f51E9-hmls53 

CALL 2-1-1

Operates 24 hours in English, Spanish, Vietnamese & 140 other languages. 
Free, non-emergency information on available community services including assistance with basic needs, child & elder care, employment, health services, immigration, counseling, & opportunities to volunteer or donate. 




Housing 1000 Program through Destination Home 

Addressing Homelessness in San Jose 

Housing & Homelessness Resources