The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors this week approved more than a dozen affordable housing agenda items.
Supervisors said their actions will help a range of people receive housing, including homeless seniors, foster youth and families with young children.
The board approved more funds for senior housing, a land swap for supportive housing in Cupertino, an investment into rental assistance with seven non-profits, a new housing development in Milpitas and more affordable housing in Mountain View, some specifically for foster youth.
“Dealing with housing and homelessness is extremely complex but not unsolvable,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
Chavez, who had been a main proponent of a $950 million county bond in 2016 that continues to struggle to meet its housing targets, claimed: “We are making good progress in Santa Clara County.”
“More people are ending their homelessness with permanent housing than they were three years ago,” she told supervisors. “The county will not stop working night and day on affordable housing and homelessness.”
“There will be more progress to come,” she promised.
Also on Tuesday, the board heard managers of the Heading Home program report that it has helped find housing for 635 families with young children. The program has a target of creating enough housing for all county families experiencing homelessness by 2025.
Hilary Armstrong, program manager with the Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing, said approximately 1,400 families are currently enrolled in homeless prevention programs and receive financial help, education and other resources.
She predicted her office will have 848 new units of supportive and affordable housing open for families by 2025.
Armstrong added that the office is working with other family services, expanding more of its services to pregnant women, and collaborating with landlords.
According to recent numbers, over half of the families have children ages five and younger, and the majority are sleeping in their cars, shelters or on the couches of friends.
“A lower number, thankfully, are outdoors, but still more than we would like,” said Armstrong at Tuesday's meeting.
Following the presentation, supervisors expressed the need for more information on success stories of the program.
“I think it is hard when there is always more work in front of us to take a moment, take some sense of satisfaction, for the lives that have been changed for the better, in ways we can sometimes only imagine and not always see,” said Supervisor Joe Simitian to Armstrong.
“I hope that gives you some comfort, some sense of solace. I hope that the work yet to be done doesn't overwhelm the sense of satisfaction I think you and your colleagues should have for the work you have been able to do.”
Olivia Wynkoop is a reporter with Bay City News.