Permanent placements grew 20% in last six months
Today we’re sharing mid-year progress on our 2025 Community Plan to End Homelessness and taking a closer look at the solutions underway that are driving these important gains.
Let’s start with the big picture. While it’s clear that homelessness remains a serious issue in our region, the growth of the crisis in Santa Clara County is slowing. Despite increasing rents and rising cost of living, we’re continuing to narrow the gap between the number of people becoming homeless and the number of people permanently housed.
This is a direct result of the deep, collaborative work of our community’s public and private partners on evidence-based strategies in recent years.
In one sign of success, the rate at which our Supportive Housing System is able to permanently house people is growing. In the first half of this year, 1,852 individuals ended their homelessness with permanent housing in Santa Clara County, a 20 percent increase from the previous six-month period.
And importantantly, they’re remaining housed – retention rates in our permanent supportive housing programs have remained above 96% in recent years.
Progress on other Community Plan goals remains steady as well:
Dozens of nonprofit partners across the county are doing the hard work every single day to drive these results. From creating new interim shelter and permanent housing to providing critical prevention services and ensuring people are leaving our streets permanently, this progress wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of organizations like Abode Services, Amigos de Guadalupe, Bill Wilson Center, Community Solutions, Covenant House California, Family Supportive Housing, HomeFirst Services, LifeMoves, New Directions, PATH, The Health Trust, Sacred Heart Community Service, Sunnyvale Community Services and many more.
Evidence Based Solutions
A growing body of research affirms homelessness is a housing problem and that we must fill the massive gap of housing that’s affordable for our community’s lowest-income and most vulnerable residents.
This is particularly true when it comes to supportive housing, a specific type of deeply affordable housing which includes on-site services and resources, and is proven particularly successful in meeting the needs of chronically homeless individuals.
After decades of inaction and disinvestment escalating the scale of homelessness being experienced today, leaders across the community have spent several years creating the foundation to vastly expand the supply of supportive housing in our community and we’re seeing the results.
Before 2015 – when we began working together in support of a county-wide Community Plan to End Homelessness – there were less than 250 supportive homes in Santa Clara County. That number has since quadrupled, with more than 1,100 in operation and another 1,500 underway.
Multiple funding sources are fueling this progress. More than 2,000 of the units referenced above were funded with the Measure A housing bond, with the County spending an average of just $128,000 per unit of permanent housing, leveraging every $1 with $4.69 in state and federal dollars.
Historic donations from private organizations like Cisco and Apple are further catalyzing supportive and deeply affordable housing production, enabling investments at the earliest and riskiest stages of development and unlocking the potential of new housing that might otherwise not be built.
How Cities Are Taking Action Throughout Santa Clara County
Cities are another crucial partner in implementing these types of proven strategies to end homelessness, and thanks to the leadership and political will demonstrated by city leaders, our community has a growing group of jurisdictions working collaboratively to solve this crisis with the urgency it deserves.
Stemming from their endorsements of the Community Plan, these cities are taking further action to drive long-term solutions that have impact beyond their borders.
For example, jurisdictions are identifying land for new affordable housing communities, taking steps to streamline the development process, aligning resources, and implementing policies that support the stability of the lowest-income residents who are most at risk of experiencing homelessness.
Here’s a closer look at some of the great work underway:
- The City of San José is making significant progress on all three strategies in the Community Plan to End Homelessness. Recent highlights include awarding $150 million in City funding to 11 affordable housing projects, creating 1,288 new affordable apartments, including nearly 450 supportive housing units with services tailored to residents’ needs. The City is also investing in the countywide Homelessness Prevention System, which helped more than 350 San José residents avoid becoming homeless during the past year. And San José is taking an aggressive approach to building interim housing, which provides residents with an opportunity to live in safe, dignified communities while they look for long-term housing. The City’s Housing Department is operating 289 units at five locations, with a sixth site under construction, and City Council approval for the construction of 300 additional units.
- The City of Mountain View has taken several innovative actions, including a recent agreement with the County Office of Supportive Housing to create up to 250 new homes for currently unhoused residents leveraging the Measure A housing bond, with 4 new developments now in progress. The City is also piloting a guaranteed basic income initiative to help approximately 166 extremely low-income households bridge the gap of monthly income needed to maintain stable housing and prevent homelessness, and has established the largest safe parking program on the Peninsula in partnership with the County. The program currently serves on average 130 to 150 participants.
- The City of Santa Clara has welcomed several new housing communities, including the recently-opened 144-unit Calabazas Community Apartments and the under-construction Agrihood Senior Apartments and Kifer Senior Apartments, which will collectively create more than 240 new homes. The city has also launched a Homelessness Task Force consisting of stakeholders with a range of perspectives and experience to further their commitment.
- The City of Morgan Hill has collaborated with the County Office of Supportive Housing in developing a local Measure A housing plan to identify opportunities for affordable housing. The effort has so far resulted in three new developments: The 38-home Crossing on Monterey, 73-unit Royal Oak Village, and 66-home Magnolias. The City has also hired a dedicated liaison on homelessness issues and is launching a local implementation plan with specific targets and outcomes for each of the Community Plan strategies.
- The City of Cupertino is home to the Measure A bond-funded Veranda affordable housing development, and is currently developing a citywide strategic plan to define further action. Through a robust community engagement process, the City is identifying strategies and goals to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, and support the objectives of the Community Plan.
The Path Ahead
Despite a devastating global pandemic and now historic inflation, the number of people experiencing homelessness has remained relatively flat in Santa Clara County – the direct result of the many strategic efforts underway and tireless efforts of many government, nonprofit and private partners in our community. Yet, we still have so much work yet to do, with roughly 10,000 people still unhoused in our community.
We must continue to work together to dramatically scale up the solutions we’re implementing to reduce overall homelessness and ensure the experience is rare, brief and non-recurring in the long term.