Local Collaboration Highlighted as Key to Success in Addressing Homelessness

Collective impact is core to our work at Destination: Home. Recently this deep and intentional collaborative approach among public and private partners has been showcased as a key element of success in ending homelessness.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized our community’s work to end family homelessness, awarding the Heading Home campaign the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships which highlights excellence in partnerships that have transformed the relationship between the sectors and led to measurable benefits.

Results for America also featured the collective impact model utilized among agencies and leaders in Santa Clara County, the City of San Jose and Destination: Home in a case study, attributing intentional and ongoing coordination to key outcomes like housing tens of thousands of people, passing a pivotal local housing bond and creating an effective Homelessness Prevention System.

Recent Collective Impact

Week after week, we continue to see the positive impact of this alignment, with a growing supportive housing ecosystem that is leveraging public and private resources toward solutions, and slowing the growth of homelessness as a result.

Just this month, both Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose took further action to end and prevent homelessness.

The San Jose City Council approved funding for four new permanent housing developments, adding 448 affordable homes to our community, the majority of which will serve Extremely Low Income households experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Thanks to the support of private funders like Cisco, Destination: Home provided early investments in all of these sites. All are also leveraging Measure A funding from the County and three are receiving vouchers from the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.

And this week the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved several measures advancing our collective goals. The Board endorsed the Community Plan to End Youth and Young Adult Houselessness, which details plans to spend $10.4 million in federal funding recently awarded to the County’s Continuum of Care to tackle youth homelessness over the next two years.

The County Board of Supervisors also approved Measure A funding for three additional developments that will add to an overall total of 1,000 family units in the County’s affordable housing pipeline. Located across the county in partnership with Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, and San Jose, these developments will provide stable, affordable housing to families with children, agricultural workers, and other low-income community members.

In another boost to local housing production, a fourth Homekey application was approved in Santa Clara County this month, with the awarding of $14.3 million in state funding to transform the Pavilion Inn into homes for transitional age youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Spearheaded by the Santa Clara County Housing Authority in partnership with the County, City of San Jose, Bill Wilson Center and Jamboree Housing, the 43-unit development will include an array of robust services, resources and events geared toward the youth residents.

We now have 44 developments with more than 4,700 new homes underway. Nearly 1,000 of which – like Calabazas Community Apartments featured to the right – are now occupied.

Further emphasizing the potential of collective action, the New York Times published a spot-on piece demonstrating Houston’s success in significantly reducing homelessness. Coordination among all sectors of the community, prioritizing permanent housing placements known as “Housing First,” and public-private partnerships were cited as the keys to success. We encourage you to give it a read.

Now, We Need to Scale

You might be asking yourself, ‘so why are there still so many people experiencing homelessness in our community?’ The quick answer is the scale of these strategies have not met the level of need.

We joined with Dr. Margot Kushel of the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative and Tomiquia Moss with All Home to further punctuate this point in a recent Mercury News op-ed.

The gains we’ve realized through collaboration on proven, evidence-based solutions show massive potential in what’s possible. Fewer people are becoming homeless each day, but to see significant reductions in the total number of people suffering unsheltered, leaders at all levels must invest more in deeply affordable housing production, prevention efforts, and rental assistance for the vast majority of households who are currently unsupported.

No one entity can turn the tide on a societal challenge as substantial as homelessness, but when partners across the community are rowing in the same direction with aligned strategies and goals, we can accomplish big things.

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