With the Sunnyvale Armory slated for demolition to make way for permanent low-income housing, north Santa Clara County stands to lose its only homeless shelter.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will talk about finding and funding a replacement.
For 20 years, the armory on Maude Avenue offered 125 beds every night between Thanksgiving and March. But on average, 136 people seek shelter there on a given night. On a quiet night, 100—even in temperate weather. The county supported the venue with a $200,000 annual subsidy.
But developers will tear it all down to build two affordable housing projects, which will set aside 47 units for homeless people.
“While that will be a welcome addition to our housing stock, it will not eliminate the continuing need for access to a cold weather shelter …,” Supervisor Joseph Simitian writes in a memo going before his colleagues on Tuesday.
The county will consider replacing the armory beds with “warming stations,” shelters that would rotate locations in extreme weather, such as the cold snap this past winter that claimed the lives of four homeless men.
Short-term shelter doesn’t stop the problem of low-income housing needs, Simitian adds. As the housing market gets more competitive, it’s increasingly common for homeless people to show up with a housing voucher and nowhere to use it.
“While the county’s efforts to implement a ‘housing first’ approach are appropriate and theoretically sound, they cannot fully address the very real and immediate challenges associated with shelter housing for the north county homeless population,” he writes in a memo. “For this reason, we continue to need a variety of approaches, including an emergency cold weather shelter at a fixed location.”
Finding a new spot isn’t just a Sunnyvale issue, he continues. It’s a regional need, and as such, other cities should step up to help.
The latest point-in-time homeless census counted more than 7,600 unsheltered residents. Even those who obtained a housing voucher are having a tough time finding a landlord to accept them because of the tight rental market, pushing more people to rely on short-term shelters.
- To help San Jose cope with a critically understaffed police force, the county will consider offering help of sheriff's deputies. Since 2008, the San Jose Police Department's ranks dwindled from more than 1,400 sworn officers to fewer than 900 now. But the city's budget situation has improved. It has the money to pay for more officers, it just can't attract enough talent because of controversy surrounding pension reform measures. The proposal submitted by Supervisor Dave Cortese argues that San Jose's needs threaten the public safety of the entire region since it makes up more than half the county's population. The sheriff's office already offers temporary help to the Valley Transportation Authority, Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Altos.
- With South County trying to brand itself as a destination for wine tourism, supervisors are talking about placing signage along routes in Morgan Hill and Gilroy designating a “Wine Trail” leading to various wineries.
- Restaurants will have to post up their health inspection grades for the public to see. Green for pass, yellow for conditional pass and red for failed.
- Someone wants to build a new cemetery. That permit application is up for review.
- A public health consulting firm, John Snow, Inc., will charge the county $65,000 for an anti-violence social marketing campaign.
WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Lynn Regadanz, [email protected]