Despite fears of a pandemic, Santa Clara County has seen a smaller-than-expected increase in the number of homeless people and a decrease in the number of homeless people in the first homeless census in three years.
In response to Preliminary poll results were released MondaySan Jose County and City officials and homeless advocates are calling for more spending to keep people from becoming homeless.
Trends in the number of vulnerable people in the county coincide with trends in nine counties in the Gulf region, according to a press release Monday from All Home, a regional organization dedicated to ending homelessness and insecurity for extremely low-income people.
According to preliminary results of the first official count of people who have faced the homeless since the beginning of the pandemic, the figures differed in nine different districts of the Bay Area, and in some counties from 2019 there is a decrease in the number of homeless, according to All Home.
“Governments and nonprofits in the Bay area were deeply defending against homelessness during the pandemic, and we more or less held the line, but now we need to go on the offensive and end the suffering on our streets,” said Tomikiya Moss, founder and CEO of All Home. “Programs like Roomkey and Homekey, as well as a moratorium on evictions and emergency rent assistance programs have changed what is possible.”
“We have proven that we can move fast, invest on a new scale and cut red tape to protect thousands of people, and there is no going back – it’s time to double what works,” she said in a statement.
All Home Regional Action Plan It is estimated that reducing the number of homeless homeless people in the Gulf region by 75% by 2024 will cost at least $ 6 billion.
Every county in the U.S. conducts a “time count” of homeless people overnight or early in the morning each year. The 2021 countdown has been postponed until 2022 due to a pandemic. The count is based on visual observations of homeless people and groups, as well as a census of people in shelters.
Most counties released their preliminary figures today, and more information from Santa Clara County based on individual surveys, including demographics, is expected in July.
According to the 2022 Homelessness Census, published jointly by Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose, the number of non-resident community members in Santa Clara County remained relatively stable compared to 2019.
The total number of homeless people counted this year increased by 3% in Santa Clara County (to 10,028) and increased by 11% (to 6,739) within the city of San Jose.
At the same time, the number of homeless people living outdoors in the community has decreased, with Santa Clara County declining by 3% and San Jose by 2%. This trend has coincided with an increase in the number of shelters in San Jose and across the county – 74% in the city and 30% in the county – as community-wide jurisdictions have expanded temporary housing and temporary housing options by 25% over the past three years.
“The fact that we have not seen a significant increase in homelessness over the past three years speaks volumes about our community’s heroic efforts to protect our poor and most vulnerable during the pandemic,” said Miguel Marquez, the county’s head. officer.
“However, every year more and more people become homeless, and we must continue to invest in permanent support and other housing options for all members of our community.”
“Homelessness and the human suffering it brings are perhaps the biggest challenges facing our city and our region,” said Jackie Morales-Ferran, San Jose’s director of housing. “While I’m excited to see that our investments are starting to pay dividends with fewer people on our streets, we need to do more. We must continue to invest in the development of new affordable housing, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that our neighbors do not become homeless. “
Officials said preliminary figures reflect investments made over the past few years to blunt the economic impact of the pandemic. Since 2020, the county has reported that its housing support system has helped 6,890 people move from homeless to stable housing.
In the five years since voters took action on affordable housing in 2016, Santa Clara County has allocated $ 588 million to build and renovate nearly 4,500 apartments in 41 homes in eight cities, but the pace of actual construction remains slow.
The Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury said in January that after six years of the initiative, the county had completed only 289 available units – about 6% of the target. As of September 2021, 1,246 houses were under construction, 1,302 are still under construction.
A census report released this week blamed the ongoing homeless crisis for “deep, long-lasting social inequality, which includes rising economic inequality, insufficient federal investment in security networks and a lack of affordable housing.”
The region, according to a joint statement by the city and county, “suffers from the highest income inequality in the country.” The two governments also noted that “the gap between rent and income is widening every day.” According to a press release this week, tenants in San Jose have to earn $ 54 an hour ($ 111,680 a year) to afford the average effective monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment.
“We will never end homelessness in our community unless we address the huge systemic factors that continue to push vulnerable families out on the streets,” said Jennifer Lowing, CEO of Destination: Home. “And certainly the biggest factor driving this crisis is the severe lack of affordable housing options for our lowest-income residents. Our community must remain committed to expanding the production of more sustainable affordable homes, and we need our federal and to meet this commitment by investing in permanent, sustainable funding for proven housing solutions. ”
In a joint statement on May 16, the city and county said: “The county, local cities and community partners must continue to push for all elements A joint plan to end homelessnessfrom building more permanent housing to meeting the immediate needs of unprotected neighbors. ”
The statement cites several key milestones:
- Of the planned in 2016, the development of bonds for affordable housing under construction 11 projects (with an additional 1280 affordable apartments).
- Three local motel transformations – the Arena Hotel in San Jose, the Crestview Hotel in Mountain View and the Bella Vista Inn Hotel in Santa Clara – have received public funding for the Homekey project, creating additional housing options for people currently experiencing homelessness.
- Expand Homekey and set financing current operations to reach your potential.
- Extending the tenant’s state-wide tax credit to extremely low-income households would help keep Californians in their homes.
- Local jurisdictions should zone and plan sufficient temporary / emergency housing to meet the needs identified in the housing element, including for families, to transform housing in response to COVID into permanent ancillary housing, and to develop shallow rental subsidy programs for families. tenants with extremely low incomes.