Saturday, September 24, 2022

Santa Clara County makes ‘dramatic’ investment in homeless housing

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Santa Clara County is doling out millions to house thousands.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved $29 million to fund three housing projects which will add 332 homes to San Jose, Morgan Hill and Sunnyvale. Twenty million of the funding comes from the county’s $950 million Measure A bond, and $9 million from Prop 63, also known as “No Place Like Home.” The county is racing to end homelessness among families in Silicon Valley. The goal, county officials said, is to bring 1,200 families into housing this year and 600 every year until 2025. As of April, 275 families have found new homes under the program.

“This has been extraordinarily well-done,” Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said at the meeting, noting she appreciates the county’s focus on permanent housing instead of temporary solutions like tiny homes. “Permanent housing is the solution to homelessness.”

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In San Jose, the Alvarado Park project will feature 90 homes—including 83 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments—at several lots along Grand Avenue and Race Street. The project will sit on a 0.9 acre site. The five-story building will serve formerly unhoused people with special needs, low-income families and seniors. The $70 million proposal also calls for open spaces with a playground, barbeque areas and a bike storage.

The project will be developed by the Santa Clara County Housing Authority, with a completion date expected by Fall 2025. The county will contribute $4.6 million.

The county has also approved $11.2 million for a project in Sunnyvale. Mid-Pen Housing will build the seven-story, 176-home apartment complex on 1.26-acre lot on Sonora Avenue. The $144.6 million complex will designate 45 apartments with permanent supportive services for formerly unhoused residents. The remaining 131 homes will be affordable housing. The project is set to open in March 2026.

In Morgan Hill, First Community Housing will receive $13.2 million from the county to complete a $64.4 million project on Monterey Road to serve homeless individuals, low-income families and farm workers. The complex will feature 66 apartments—seven of which will come with permanent supportive services and 1o others will serve formerly homeless people with special needs. The complex is expected to open by summer 2025.

“We are seeing a very rapid ramp up of much needed housing and resources for our most vulnerable residents—from families and youth to agricultural workers—but we’re also keenly aware of how much work remains to help our entire community afford a place to live in Silicon Valley,” Consuelo Hernandez, director of the county of supportive housing, said in a statement.

The efforts come as a new tally shows more than 10,000 people are sleeping on the streets of Santa Clara County—a crisis that has been growing in the last decade. Officials have been pushing to build more homes—especially affordable ones—to help address the issue. With unprecedented Measure A funding, the county has brought 965 low-income homes online since 2017, serving more than 2,000 people. Another 3,200 units funded by Measure A are in the pipeline, county data shows. The goal is to help developers fund 4,800 homes in the region by 2026. So far, the county has used about $793 million from Measure A.

Since early 2020, the county has helped 7,146 families and individuals into housing, county officials said this week. But with the housing crisis raging on, two people are falling into homelessness for every one person coming out, according to county data.

Sandy Perry, a local housing advocate of 30 years and president of the Affordable Housing Network, said the county’s current push is the most ambitious effort in Silicon Valley in recent history.

“This is the most dramatic investment in housing that Santa Clara County has ever seen,” Perry told thecupertinodigest.com, but he noted the housing numbers are still falling short of the community’s needs.

Perry applauded the county’s investment in permanent supportive housing, which he sees as integral to helping move people off the streets. Many of these individuals have mental illness and substance addiction from years of street life and limited to no support.

“Permanent supportive housing is the answer for homelessness,” he said, adding that this model in Santa Clara County has a 90% success rate of keeping people housed. “This is a very successful model, and it’s important to say because there are a lot of lies (about it) out there.”

Contact Tran Nguyen at tran@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.

The post Santa Clara County makes ‘dramatic’ investment in homeless housing appeared first on thecupertinodigest.com.

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