The City of San José is setting up “Evacuee Transition Facilities” at existing quick-build housing communities, including Rue Ferrari, Monterey/Bernal and Mabury, as temporary 24-hour emergency evacuation centers beginning Monday.
Heavy rain and flooding along creeks and the Guadalupe River the past three weeks forced the evacuation of people from several homeless encampments. Now that the immediate threat of severe storms has passed, city officials see an opportunity to provide evacuees with social services and transition some of them to interim housing.
The new temporary evacuation centers opening next week can accommodate up to 132 tents on wood pallets, the city said in a press release. Bathroom facilities and handwashing stations are also available onsite.
“The storms of the last couple weeks have created an opportunity for us to accelerate our effort to bring our homeless neighbors indoors, into a caring environment with onsite services and pathways to self-sufficiency,” said San José Mayor Matt Mahan. “I want to thank the many city workers and nonprofit partners who have come together to turn a one-time evacuation order into a more lasting and positive impact for our community.”
The city is also working to rapidly place evacuees, based on an evaluation of each person’s needs, into other locations operated by the city where there is availability, such as the Overnight Warming Locations, quick-build housing communities, bridge housing, and programs like the Rapid Rehousing, Motel Vouchers and even permanent supportive housing.
“I am proud that San José was one of the first California cities to issue a Proclamation of Local Emergency and Evacuation Order for the recent atmospheric rivers,” said City Manager Jennifer Maguire. “The order enabled us to save lives and focus on our most vulnerable communities, including the unhoused residents living within waterways throughout the City.”
“The emergency evacuation centers provided a safe, dry place to protect evacuees for the duration of the storms,” Maguire said in a statement. “I am incredibly thankful for the tireless work done by many city employees. From clearing storm drains to knocking on doors, operating warming centers, and making announcements along our creeks, we worked as one team to keep our city safe.”
The city partnered with the Red Cross to operate two current emergency evacuation sites at the Seven Trees Community Center and Camden Community Center. The city’s Emergency Operations Center team, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department, San Jose Conservation Corps and Housing Department worked together to create the new emergency evacuation centers.
Recently, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced the launch of the SVCF Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund, a long-term, regional fund that will provide grants to nonprofits and government entities assisting those most impacted during times of crisis or disasters – including San José residents affected by the recent storms. To respond to community needs following the recent storms and flooding, the community foundation will use monies raised into the emergency fund to support a range of nonprofits and government entities providing direct relief, including Destination: Home.
Destination: Home, a San José-based nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, will use funds from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to buy care kits for unhoused residents currently residing in flood shelters who choose to move to the Emergency Transition Facilities. Supplies may include sleeping bags, blankets, winter hats, scarves, gloves, socks, hand warmers, and gift cards to purchase other necessities like food, hygiene items, medicines, and clothes.