As part of a regional effort to move people off the streets and into stable housing, the city of San Jose will consider building a “transitional community” for at least 100 people.
The proposal, up for consideration at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, would help people unable to find a home because of poor credit, gaps in rental history or a lack of money.
At build-out, the community would consist of about 16 modular units of up to eight rooms and shared bathrooms and kitchens. Another communal building would serve as a meeting space and laundry facility. Each room would have a locking door and include storage space and convertible furniture. The compound may also come with parking, a smoking patio, a dog run and community garden.
Abode Services, a housing nonprofit that serves more than 4,400 adults in three Bay Area counties, would act as property manager. The city expects each modular unit to cost up to $120,000 each and operating costs to run about $725,000 a year for every 50 participants.
This village-like shelter proposal comes a week after after city officials committed to building a 135-unit apartment complex for permanent supportive housing for the homeless. Also in the works are plans to buy a hotel, dedicated parking spaces for people to sleep in their cars and creating a hotel and motel lease program.
Meanwhile, Santa Clara County supervisors approved $13 million-plus to buy and fix up motels and hotels for the homeless. They also approved $3.8 million to bolster existing housing services, drop-in access to showers and toilets, and 585 shelter beds.
A recent study found that homelessness costs the region $520 million a year in services such as incarceration, mental health care and hospital visits. While the county saw a 14-percent reduction in the number of people living on the streets—down to about 6,500 this year—the region still claims one of the highest populations of homeless residents.
In San Jose, more than 45 percent of homeless people lost their home because of a financial or domestic crisis, according to the city. A recent survey and census found that the main reason people became homeless was from losing a job (30 percent of respondents). The third most-cited reason was divorce or separation from a partner (16 percent).
Respondents overwhelmingly said the biggest barrier to finding housing was a lack of money. Two-thirds said they can’t afford rent in this market, though most had once lived in independent permanent housing.
“Most people who are homeless have previously lived in independent permanent housing and they can generally return and remain housed when provided with limited assistance,” said San Jose’s interim Housing Director, Jacky Morales-Ferrand. “The more time someone remains on the street, the longer it will take to transition back into permanent housing. The goal of the pilot is to move program participants off the streets into the transitional housing community and offer services to locate permanent housing as quickly as possible.”
The city expects to have the transitional housing community up and running by next fall.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for September 22, 2015:
- City Attorney Rick Doyle is up for a performance evaluation.
- Santana Row will add more than 500,000 square feet of office space. Council members Pierluigi Oliverio, Chappie Jones, Don Rocha, Johnny Khamis and Mayor Sam Liccardo said the city should get the developer to pay for traffic signal upgrades, road widening and a shuttle service. Federal Realty recently leased out 300 Santana Row to companies employing hundreds of office workers. Meanwhile, the under-construction 500 Santana Row will be leased to Splunk, which will add new research and development jobs and attendant tax revenue in 2016. With this latest expansion, the city expects to gain 1,500 new jobs and $370,000 in annual property and sales tax revenues.
- A $3.3 million federal grant will help the city hire 14 firefighters. Since 2011, the city has been awarded a combined $26.8 million to restore 90 sworn fire positions cut during the recession.
- A small parking lot on Balbach Street may get converted to supportive housing for the homeless or mixed-income affordable housing.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260