The city of San Jose recently cleared three areas with prominent homeless encampments. Along with clearing debris, the goal was to enter many of these homeless people into housing programs.
Downtown Streets Team, an organization that partnered with the city in the cleanups, is taking a different approach, says Chris Richardson, the nonprofit’s director of program operations. DST recruits homeless individuals who to help get involved with creek cleanups and offers incentives for their participation.
“The city looked for an agency that they thought was really having an impact,” Richardson says. “So, we started working with them we’ve officially signed a lease.”
The lease Richardson is referring to is for two properties that were rehabilitated through the city, which will be used to house individuals with a work history in the Downtown Streets team. Residents will move in as soon as July 1.
Eileen Richardson, executive director of Downtown Streets, says the program will offer permanent housing for the residents.
In a similar fashion, but not permanent, the city of San Jose has also partnered with Adobe Services to find housing for homeless individuals. The program is run under the umbrella of the city’s Tenant Based Rental Assistance.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved a $1.5 million contract that will cover administration and housing costs for the program, which offers two years of housing and assistance, with a goal that residents will use this time to find other long-term housing while also becoming financially stable. Up to 40 homeless households that live in encampments around San Jose are expected to receive housing.
The first part of this program launched in 2010, and so far it has provided housing for about 100 people. The second part of this program is planned to begin later in 2012. The goal is to provide long-term housing assistance to individuals who regularly reside in St. James Park.
Richardson says the cost of implementing these programs will save the city money in the end.
“It ends up being a much less costly example of having homeless resident son the streets or in jail,” she says, citing the story of Million Dollar Murray.