On November 27, 2018, The San Jose City Council increased their support of the Homelessness Prevention System, voting to approve $4 million to help San Jose residents stave off eviction and avoid the trauma of homelessness.
Rising rents, lack of affordable housing, and the high cost of living led to 4,660 families and individuals countywide entering the homeless system of care last year for the first time, making early interventions like prevention critical to making homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Councilmembers and city staff engaged in critical dialogue about how best to use one-time state Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) to address the immediate crisis and join community-wide efforts to achieve the goals of the Community Plan to End Homelessness.
“Allocating funds into the Homelessness Prevention System gives us the opportunity to invest in a working system of trusted community partners, getting much-needed assistance in the hands of our most vulnerable San Jose residents,” said Jacky Morales-Ferrand, Director of Housing, City of San Jose.
This big step forward came on the heels of two tech giants, Cisco ($1.5 Million) and Google ($1.2 Million), also announcing their support of the Homelessness Prevention System. These private funds add the capacity to help more families, and allow the Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium to join the work, bringing their specialized services to families and individuals on the verge of homelessness due to domestic violence. Funding will help the system be quick and flexible in ensuring the safety, confidentiality, and long-term stability of affected households.
“Destination: Home is providing individuals and families with vital homelessness prevention tools,” stated Javier Gonzalez, Google’s Public Policy lead for the South Bay. “Google is proud to continue our history of support with this grant.”
Combining these significant public investments with private funds will continue to solidify a flexible and data-informed system of care to “prevent homelessness before it happens.”
A coordinated network of partner organizations, led by Sacred Heart Community Services, use a flexible and proactive approach to address the crisis and connect family members to support services, including rent assistance, employment services, child care, and transportation — working with families over an average of 3 months.
The University of Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities is independently evaluating the system’s performance and will track long-term whether families and individuals who received assistance remain housed.
In a heartwarming act of personal giving, Jody & Curtis Chang made the first gift of its kind to the Homelessness Prevention System: a personal contribution of $50,000. Having recently sold their Bay Area home for a profit in a hot market, the Chang’s understood that very few benefited the way they did from soaring home prices and unprecedented housing demand. Feeling blessed and inspired after reading Evicted by Matthew Desmond – a Pulitzer Prize winning novel telling the story of some of the poorest families on the edge – they had been looking for a way to give back to the community and help others in need.
“We would like this money to benefit clients facing eviction, where one-time cash assistance can make a meaningful difference between them staying in their home versus being evicted and put at risk of being homeless.” – Jody and Curtis Chang
The generosity of the Chang family is helping to build a system where homelessness can be prevented in our community. With partners ranging from government entities to philanthropic institutions, this gift from Jody and Curtis shows that everyone can be a part of making a lasting change for those who need help the most.
Thank you to all of our funding partners!
Jody and Curtis Chang
City of Morgan Hill
City of San Jose
City of Santa Clara
County of Santa Clara