As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, it has become clear that the most severe impacts would fall upon the poorest and most vulnerable residents in our community. This includes those who are currently experiencing homelessness, as well as those living paycheck-to-paycheck who are often just one financial jolt away from being pushed into homelessness.
So, at Destination: Home, we have been focused on doing everything we can to support these vulnerable households during the crisis. Read below to learn more about our COVID-19 financial & rental assistance programs, the coordinated effort to assist our homeless neighbors during this pandemic, and the many organizations who’ve supported our COVID-19 response. You can also visit our News section for additional updates on these efforts.
Last Updated: February 22, 2021
Financial & Rental Assistance for Residents Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic
When COVID-19 began we knew that it would be our lowest-income families of color who would be hardest hit and that the sudden and extraordinary loss of income could put many low-income households at serious risk of homelessness. So, we mobilized quickly alongside Sacred Heart Community Service and dozens of other public and private partners to meet this impending crisis.
Working in collaboration with Silicon Valley Strong and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Regional Response fund, we began aggressively fundraising to help secure resources for families and individuals in-need. Thanks to the generosity of dozens of public and private funders (see full list at the bottom of this page), we’ve raised tens-of-millions of dollars to support families in need.
We also began developing the infrastructure to reach and assist vulnerable residents in our community. While we knew we could leverage our countywide Homelessness Prevention System, it only had the capacity to assist approximately 1,500 at-risk households per year. So, we have also established special time-limited assistance programs to help the tens of thousands of additional households who would find themselves in financial crisis.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, this coordinated effort has provided approximately $36 million in rental and financial assistance to roughly 15,000 households in-need:
Partnering with Organizations Throughout the Community
Our efforts to reach tens-of-thousands of vulnerable residents during the pandemic would not be possible without the support of 70 partner organizations who have helped enroll and disburse funds to residents throughout our community.
Among these partners are 50 small grassroots groups with deep and trusted relationships in different parts of our community. As part of our COVID-19 response, we have granted millions of dollars to these organizations to help us reach and assist residents in neighborhoods that are historically and chronically under-resourced and where we know COVID-19 has had the most severe impacts.
Our Next Round of Assistance
The federal COVID-19 relief bill approved in December included $25 billion in federal funding for rental assistance – with the funding split between states and local jurisdictions.
The State of California rolled out its plans for a new statewide rental assistance program in late January, and we have been working with the County of Santa Clara & City of San Jose to develop a strategy for addressing the needs of our lowest-income and most vulnerable residents – who continue bearing the most severe impacts from this pandemic.
Based on these conversations, we have developed a hybrid approach for deploying rental assistance in our community:
- Our local partnership will launch a community-driven program serving our lowest-income residents, utilizing the City’s & County’s direct allocation of federal rental assistance funding.
- Landlords and higher-income residents can access funding in the Statewide program that has been specifically earmarked for our community.
Our local rental assistance program will be centered on addressing the needs of our community’s lowest-income and most vulnerable residents. Among the key elements of the local program are:
- Priority for ELI households (<30% of AMI)
- Payment standards will not penalize tenants who have uncooperative landlords
- Simplified processes and systems that remove common barriers to accessing assistance
- Partnerships with trusted community groups on outreach, intake, case management
- Program will leverage private dollars raised by Destination: Home to help residents cover other basic needs
More information on both the statewide program and our local effort will become available in the weeks ahead. So please stay tuned for more details.
Supporting Homeless Individuals During the Crisis
We know that the spread of COVID-19 could be particularly dangerous for those experiencing homelessness. Individuals without stable housing not only face greater difficulty taking preventative actions, but they are often in poorer health than other residents.
As a result, Destination: Home has worked in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, City of San Jose, and our County Continuum of Care Partners assist those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. As part of this effort, we have:
- Supported efforts of the County’s and City’s Emergency Operation Centers to refer more than 4,000 vulnerable homeless individuals to appropriate congregate or non-congregate shelter during the crisis.
- Established a supply distribution program for service agencies that has distributed over 100,000 pieces of PPE to shelters, outreach teams, backpack doctors, and other partners
- Funded mobile shower and sanitation services, tents, tarps and other supplies for individuals living in encampments
- Developed a small grant program to support emerging needs among our non-profit service providers
In addition to these temporary measures, our partners have helped connect close to 3,000 homeless individuals to permanent housing during the pandemic.
Thank You to All of Our Generous Funders
Since this crisis began, dozens of corporations, private foundations, government agencies, and individuals have stepped up to fill immediate financial and supply needs in the face of COVID-19. Their support and partnership has helped ensure access to critical services and financial assistance for the most vulnerable in our community, providing health, safety, and economic and housing stability during this crisis.
Funding for the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program for low-income Santa Clara County residents facing economic hardship due to the pandemic:
Adecco Group US Foundation
Bank of America
Brandenberg Family Foundation
Cisco Systems, Inc.
City of San Jose
COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, a component of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation
County of Santa Clara
David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Housing Trust Silicon Valley
John A. Sobrato and Susan Sobrato
Micron Technology, Inc.
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Scott Cook and Signe Ostby through The Valhalla Charitable Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Strong & their donors
Sobrato Family Foundation
Spero Family Charitable Fund
Stanford Health Care
Zoom Video Communications, Inc.
General Operating Support for COVID-19 Response Efforts:
AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
Sobrato Family Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
Whole Foods Market
In-kind Donations of Supplies, Technology Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment and Hand Sanitizer:
Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Masks for Causes
Non Plus Ultra
SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant