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Silicon Valley leaders celebrate opening of San Jose’s first 100% permanent supportive housing development

Sal and Elaine Sanchez were homeless for eight years after a series of health problems led to a spiral of financial difficulties.

Second Street Studios is providing affordable homes to 155 formerly homeless individuals

Leaders from the public, non-profit and business sectors came together this morning to celebrate the grand opening of Second Street Studios: the first affordable housing development in San Jose to reserve 100% of its units to house formerly homeless individuals.

Since opening its doors a few months ago, Second Street Studios has provided a safe, stable and affordable home for 155 of our most vulnerable residents – bringing an end to a combined 400+ years of homelessness.

Second Street Studios is the region’s largest permanent supportive housing development, combining deeply affordable apartments and a variety of support services, including a full-time onsite nurse and harm reduction specialists and case management services to help residents access benefits, medical appointments, transportation, and food.

Supportive housing developments, which are designed to serve formerly homeless individuals with a disabling condition, have been proven to help our most vulnerable residents remain stably housed. In fact, 92% of formerly homeless individuals who’ve been connected to permanent supportive housing remain stably housed 12 months later.

Second Street Studies includes 128 studio apartments, 6 one-bedroom apartments, one manager’s unit, and a variety of on-site amenities, including 24-hour security, a computer lab, laundry room, green terraces for gardening, and a large transit screen to help facilitate the use of public transit. The development incorporates extensive green building features (it is currently seeking LEED Platinum certification) as well as 6,800 square feet of ground floor retail space. Second Street Studios also includes shared community space with a kitchen and has a dedicated community liaison on staff.

A unique collaboration

Developed by First Community Housing, Second Street Studios is the result of a unique collaboration between a number of public and private partners committed to addressing our homelessness crisis.

The development received critical funding from a variety of government agencies, including $18.4M in permanent financing from the City of San José. The County of Santa Clara is providing approximately $1.5M annually to fund the critical supportive services for residents. In addition, the State of California allocated nearly $21 million via state tax credits and a Housing & Community Development grant.

The Santa Clara County Housing Authority filled a critical funding need by allocating project based rental vouchers for all 134 apartments in the development. While residents pay approximately 1/3 of their income in rent, the vouchers help provide additional ongoing revenue to ensure that affordable housing developments like Second Street Studios remain financially viable.

Furthermore, Second Street Studios received valuable contributions from private sector partners. Silicon Valley Bank provided a conventional construction loan to the project, and notably, Second Street Studios was one of the first affordable housing developments to receive funding from Destination: Home’s Supportive Housing & Innovation Fund (which was seeded by a generous $50 million gift from Cisco). The grant was used to provide furnishings for all 134 apartments at Second Street Studios, and Cisco employees helped provide move-in kits for every household.

First Community Housing has also partnered with Abode Services to locate on-site staff to provide wrap-around support for residents, and the John Stewart Company is managing the property.

Second Street Studios is part of a flurry of affordable and supportive housing development approved since the Community Plan to End Homelessness in 2015. Since then, 3,289 affordable housing units have either been built or is slated for completion in Santa Clara County, with 1,537 of those units dedicated to supportive housing.

What Silicon Valley leaders are saying

“Homelessness is the challenge of our generation,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San José. “We’ve seen the number of unhoused and unsheltered individuals in our community increase by alarming rates over the past years. The daunting magnitude of this crisis must embolden us to come together as a community to craft impactful solutions. Second Street Studios provides the best example of an impactful solution: permanent, supportive housing to provide permanent homes for those in our community that need it the most. We are proud to partner with First Community Housing, the County, the Housing Authority, and Abode to tell more than 150 new residents in the City’s first 100% permanent supportive housing development ‘Welcome home.’”

“Building affordable housing is how we’re going to end the homelessness crisis but to be successful we must simultaneously provide services to help people get back on their feet after living on the streets for years,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, County of Santa Clara. “We know wrap-around services in affordable housing complexes work and as a county we’ll continue supporting our most vulnerable residents wherever they are in every way we can.”

“As the first 100% Permanent Supportive Housing development in the City of San José, Second Street Studios is a prime example of the City and our neighbors working collaboratively to enact solutions to our housing crisis,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez, City of San José. “I am incredibly proud that the opening of Second Street Studios is in my District, and I hope to see many more of these projects replicated throughout the City. Thank you to First Community Housing and the Spartan Keyes neighborhood for recognizing the importance of permanent supportive housing and being part of the solution to end homelessness.”

“Handing new residents their keys on the first day was the best day of my professional career,” said Geoffrey Morgan, CEO of First Community Housing.

“Cisco is proud to support Second Street Studios and its residents. Providing safe, stable, and affordable housing is critical to ending homelessness,” said Cisco Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins. “We are committed to working with all of our partners in the community to continue building supportive housing and developing new solutions to help improve the lives of those who need it the most.”

“This is a great example of federal, state and local resources being leveraged to address a problem in the most cost-effective way,” said Katherine Harasz, Executive Director of the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.  “But the best part is how we are changing people’s lives, thanks to the taxpayers who make the funding possible, our neighbors who support this new affordable housing in their neighborhood, and the elected officials that vote for the programs and policies that make this type of development possible.”

“We can end homelessness in our community – we just need the collective will, courage and resources to scale these proven solutions,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home. “We must pursue every opportunity to dramatically increase the supply of permanent supportive housing and extremely low income housing across the region.”