Council Considers 5-Year ‘Plan to End Homelessness’

San Jose will embark on an ambitious campaign to house 6,000 homeless people in the coming half-decade. The blueprint, a five-year plan to end homelessness in Santa Clara County laid out by public-private consortium Destination: Home, is up for consideration at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

More than 200 government, business and nonprofit leaders spent six months coming up with the plan, which aims to to tackle homelessness in three steps: By developing disruptive strategies, securing enough funding and developing an individualized approach for each person.

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Among the nation's 48 major metro areas, this county has the seventh highest number of homeless people on a given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It has the third largest number of chronically homeless, the fourth largest number of homeless, the fourth largest number of unaccompanied homeless youth and the fifth largest number of homeless veterans.

This plan will focus on housing children and families, veterans and the chronically homeless. Each person will need case management, considering that 64 percent of the region's homeless report a challenge—primarily mental illness, addiction or a physical or mental disability.

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Destination: Home has already secured a number of endorsements for this plan from various cities and public agencies in Silicon Valley. One of the goals for the coming year is to identify unused public land to convert to housing for the homeless.

Read the entire report here.

In 2013, the year of the last-report homeless count, the county was home to more than 7,600 unsheltered residents. Just last week, volunteers conducted another count for federal housing officials, but the results won't be available until May.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for February 3, 2015:

  • After years of cleaning of the mess left after a beleaguered construction company delayed progress on the Environmental Innovation Center, the city is poised to pay out its final settlement.
  • Interim City Manager Norberto Dueñas will take home a $250,000 annual salary, slightly less than the maximum allowed for that position.
  • San Jose has its sights set on $2.6 million in grants to build new public parks in "park-deficient" neighborhoods like Tamien and Alum Rock.
  • The city's annual service efforts report is out, which shows how taxpayer money—the entire $1.34 billion municipal budget—was spent in the 2013-14 fiscal year. The report also includes a survey rating how the public feels about their city. Survey respondents had mixed feelings: 59 percent rated quality of life in San Jose as good or excellent, though 70 percent said they would recommend the city as a good place to live. Ninety-five percent said it was essential for San Jose to focus on improving public safety. The San Jose Police Department received a million calls for service—about 85,000 more than the year prior. Less than half of respondents reported feeling safe in San Jose, with even fewer feeling safe at night. Read the entire report here.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that the Destination: Home report is a five-year plan to end homelessness.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Yet another ten year plan to “end homelessness”. The last one promised it by 2015 so guess it’s time to recycle doomed-to-fail recommendations. As before, no accountability or business / residents participation either. The plan’s participants are the same too – mostly those who slurp at the public trough to provide homeless services. They have no incentive to end homelessness, but to perpetuate it.

    These plans have proven to be less effective than the war on drugs or war on poverty.

    Homelessness is a serious problem on multiple levels. Unlike SJ, others have made significant progress while spending less money.

  2. As always, the primary beneficiaries of this new plan will be the profiteers and parasites who HOMELESS ADVOCATE so aptly and accurately describes–“mostly those who slurp at the public trough to provide homeless services.” Don’t forget those who will build and manage the dwellings, and that none of these dwellings will be taxed.

  3. Hey JMOC….I am sure you would like to create a “Homeless” Firefighter and Police force (we are half way there already)…why not just deputize and swear in these “parasites” to help solve your problem? Sensitive and looking out for your fellow man, as usual. Blood sucking Corporate leech…..

    • He brings up some good points Bohica. We used to have Sparky Harlan here a lot, who commands a $200k+ salary. Where does that money come from? Grants, both private and public.

      I’ve noticed that a lot of these “feel good” projects are nothing more than free publicity for the elected elite. They don’t have to get their hands dirty in these projects, they just have to show up to a few events, wave the hand, do the sign of the cross and suddenly they’re “the problem solvers” They get a handsome stipend for their actions, then move onto the next event. The real problem solvers are the 1000’s of volunteers at the bottom of the food pyramid.

      The county did the homeless a disservice by closing down the Childrens Shelter. Part of these figures show that a large percentage of the homeless are unsupervised minors. 1440 Roberts Road suddenly became desirable property from a real estate investment standpoint. What is there today? Lots of condo’s.

      The new shelter built on Union suffered no less a fate. IIRC the land was granted to the county in lieu of a tax lean. Soon as they could make a profit, gone.

      BTW as usual, some cop has to show up here and glom onto a subject that doesn’t pertain to the article. Josh, can we do a better job of filtering this so discussions stay on topic? Thanks.

  4. I’m just curious about why there is ALWAYS more talking than action, and why it always takes years, and tons of money to make the change we need to see. I’m tired of seeing so many vital issues take years to resolve because yet again politics and greed get in the way~

  5. Just to correct my mis-statement, SJ Council will hear a 5 year plan – not a 10 year one. Ky Le (Santa Clara County) organized a 10 year plan (250 participants listed) in 2005 that was promoted as ending homelessness by this year.

    And before that, there was the 5 year Plan. The Civil Grand Jury investigated in 2003/4, but discovered no accountability or routine reporting to the County BOS. Don’t believe that the SJ Auditor has ever conducted a review.

    A targeted approach coupled with accountability can deliver tangible results.

    Utah claims they targeted homelessness among veterans & have housed all by the end of 2014. London, with a population > 8X SJ’s, claims to have shelters or housing for everyone previously sleeping outdoors.

    SJ spends ~ $250K / year just cleaning up homeless litter, but fails to use free labor available via the Weekend Work program used for freeway, Christmas in the Park, and the fairgrounds cleanup.

    My religious beliefs are different from the Salvation Army’s, but I give them credit for results. They conduct independent studies on the effectiveness of their drug & alcohol rehab, job training, and transitional housing programs. They operate these at a substantially lower cost than comparable SJ or SCC programs. Their results are much better than national averages.

    I’ve been unsuccessful in getting any effectiveness data from SJ or SCC funded programs to compare with Salvation Army or national averages. Very frustrating as we spend millions and can’t quantify or qualify outcomes.

  6. I know that many homeless now don’t want to be there, but there is a percentage that don’t want to be saddled with the responsibilities of housework, bills & routine. They used to be called hobos. Are we going to forcibly house these people?

    • The reason that other developed “Western” countries, i.e. Canada, Australia, Sweden etc don’t have the chronic homeless, is simple. Affordable mental health services for all. Our entire health system, if you study the facts, is more than absurdly overpriced without the blanket coverage for all citizens.

  7. Any plan to end homelessness must address the mentally ill and addicts who need to be committed to a hospital/shelter in order to be helped.

  8. I read it just fine…idiot. You have a habit of calling every public employee some distasteful names, and tagging them with labels you find amusing. Just calling like I see it.
    Cortese relative: I can take care of myself, thank you.

    • I read it just fine…idiot. You have a habit of calling every public employee some distasteful names, and tagging them with labels you find amusing. Just calling like I see it.

      Oh at first I thought that was directed towards me. Haha I guess not.

      Cortese relative: I can take care of myself, thank you.

      That’s not true at all. If you were capable of taking care of yourself, you wouldn’t need unions or elected officials in your corner.

      You should take help where you can get it, even mine. Want a backrub?

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