The San Jose City Council is poised to re-authorize a few key contracts with nonprofits that serve the South Bay’s rapidly expanding homeless population.
Up for consideration when the council meets on Tuesday is a deal with Project WeHope, which is requesting $671,350 to expand its mobile hygiene services for the unhoused. The organization’s Dignity on Wheels program sends out a fleet of five trailers equipped with showers and washing machines to various locations.
Because, according to Dignity on Wheels program director Anita Blount, “for individuals who are unhoused, it’s very difficult to get access to sanitation.”
The city funding would allow the nonprofit to add two trailers to its existing fleet. One of those trailers would be equipped with plug-ins so homeless clients could charge their electronic devices. Also included would be an office for a case manager to work one-on-one with people who use the service, connecting them to housing and job opportunities.
Another agency up for contract renewal when the council meets this week is the Bill Wilson Center. San Jose will consider renewing a contract to extend the nonprofit youth shelter’s housing program. Since 2017, Bill Wilson has teamed up with Family Supportive Housing and Next Door Solutions to implement a region-wide rapid rehousing initiative that’s put a roof over the heads of 70 domestic violence survivors, families and dozens of formerly homeless youth.
“It may be for six months we pay a portion of their rent as we are working with them to gain and stabilize employment,” Pilar Furlong, Bill Wilson’s chief community resource officer, says of the program that relies on city funding. “They have case managers, working on employment services, job training, access food to transportation and healthcare. Perhaps the next six months they pay a portion and we pay a portion. The idea is that they’re able to [eventually] pay 100 percent of their rent.”
Bill Wilson is also requesting $1 million to launch a housing program called Transition in Place (TIP), which aims to serve foster youth who are homeless. After all, the nonprofit notes, the nation saw a 14 percent spike in youth homelssness from 2016 to 2017.
Last on the list of homeless services nonprofits angling for council-approved funding is PATH, which is requesting a $935,000 grant to continue its homeless outreach program. Currently, the organization sends outreach teams to hotspots such as Corie Court and encampments along Tully Road and Capitol Avenue.
“We bring boots on the ground for support, case management and clinical services,” PATH regional director Megan Colvard tells San Jose Inside.
The proposed grant would fund PATH’s outreach team of 11 employees as well as motel vouchers. “If shelters are full, we’ll pick up an individual and provide them a motel voucher,” Colvard says. “Aside from that, the additional funds provide a variety of emergency support services.”
Ultimately, PATH says it aims to ensure that every homeless person in the city has some kind of shelter option. Before a homeless individual qualifies for permanent housing, however, they must complete a Santa Clara County-administered evaluation called the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assessment Tool (VI-SPDAT).
That’s why the outreach teams are crucial, Colvard says: “We need clinicians to get out in the encampments to complete intake assessment.”
The San Jose City Council meets at 1:30pm Tuesday inside the council chambers at City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St. in San Jose. Click here to read the agenda.