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Board of Supervisors approve funding to expand North County homeless services

With no shelter replacement in sight, Santa Clara County eyes other options

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Unable to secure a new emergency cold-weather shelter to replace a longtime facility that closed earlier this year, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan that would provide up to $1.1 million in funding to give North County's homeless population a place to go on cold nights this winter, according to a Santa Clara County press release.

When the Sunnyvale Armory, which long served as a homeless shelter, closed to make way for an affordable housing development in March, North County lost more than 125 emergency shelter beds. County staff spent months looking for a replacement for the shuttered shelter but came up empty-handed, so in lieu of a single facility, officials approved a plan that would direct staff to enter into a series of agreements with four nonprofits: Downtown Streets Team, HomeFirst, InnVision Shelter Network and Project WeHOPE.

The approved plan includes a motel voucher program for families with children and single adults, expanded shelter services at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto, expanded services at Hotel de Zink in Palo Alto, cold-weather outreach to the county's homeless population and expanded services at Commercial Street Inn and the Boccardo Reception Center in San Jose.

"Right now, time is our enemy," County Supervisor Joe Simitian said in the release. "The cold weather months will be on us shortly. Folks who used to find shelter at the Sunnyvale Armory will need somewhere else to go. Given the absence of a replacement shelter, County staff did the best they could to come up with a Plan B that will give folks options to get out of the cold."

Coordination between nonprofits and city governments is required to ensure the services are set up, but Simitian stressed the urgency of the situation.

"Last year, we lost four lives in a week during an unexpected cold spell," he said. "That can't be allowed to happen again."

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Jeff Rensch
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2014 at 10:27 am

Bravo to Supervisor Simitian for his leadership on this pressing issue.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

The county and state own properties that are not currently being used. Those properties should be utilized for this purpose. The fact that the whole group comes up "empty handed" is disappointing as these people are in the business of knowing what the state and county have available.
Example - a well known property on Zanker Road in San Jose sat unused for a number of years, and now will be sold to the school system to convert into a school. Since it was previously a hospital then it had the rooms for this purpose.
There are other properties that are in limbo and sitting unused. The state and county are selling many older buildings and moving their offices into newer buildings that are up to current specifications. These older buildings will eventually be sold and torn down but for the current period can provide the needed services during the winter.
Suggestion - the San Jose Mercury building that should be now empty since they have moved their functions into the center of San Jose.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2014 at 11:55 am

Has anyone talked to the people who manage the old Safeway in Mountain View? The building is being farmed out for strange purposes - like Halloween stuff. After Halloween why not homeless people? It is near CALTRAIN.


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