Meeting the Growing Need for Homelessness Prevention

In July, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our countywide Homelessness Prevention System, a unique partnership designed to prevent homelessness before it begins. And thanks to the dedication and commitment of a broad coalition of public agencies, private funders, and nonprofit service providers, we are proud to report that this innovative program has assisted more than 12,000 residents at risk of losing their homes, with the overwhelming majority staying stably housed – both while receiving assistance AND after leaving the program.

Despite the success we’ve seen over the past 5 years, as state and federal protections and resources have expired we are starting to see a new wave of overwhelming need, often caused by extraordinary rental debt. To make matters worse, eviction filings in San Jose are surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2020.

Given this reality, we must remain committed to assisting the growing number of residents at risk of being pushed out onto the streets.

The Emerging Tidal Wave of Suffering

We’re seeing deeply troubling signs of a displacement and eviction crisis.

Over the last year, we’ve seen the number of families requesting assistance each quarter nearly triple as various emergency rental assistance programs have expired. In the last quarter alone, we received more requests than our system’s annual capacity.

Even worse, we see that the families seeking help are facing even more severe situations. Over the past year, 83% of households assisted by the Homelessness Prevention System were considered severely rent burdened when they applied for assistance – more than half of whom were not making enough income to cover their monthly rent.

These trends are just a few of the reasons why we must continue improving and expanding the Homelessness Prevention System. In order to address the enormous need in our community, we’ll be focusing on two key efforts in the year ahead:

  1. We’ll be exploring strategies to better prioritize and target our services to those in our community who are facing the greatest risk of homelessness. With demand at an all-time high, there’s never been a more important time to ensure our limited resources are focused on the most vulnerable residents.
  2. We will continue our efforts to raise the funding and build the infrastructure to serve more at-risk families, and ultimately achieve the Community Plan goal to provide Homelessness Prevention assistance to 2,500 households annually by 2025. 

Want to Learn More About Our Countywide Homelessness Prevention System?

We brought together a panel of our Homelessness Prevention System partners – along with representatives from University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) – to share their perspectives on the impact of the countywide Homelessness Prevention System and the challenges ahead of us. 

Thanks to Our Committed Partners

As we consider ways to scale up to meet the tremendous need in our community, we must take a minute to acknowledge the heroic efforts of so many partners in the community.

First and foremost, we owe a debt of gratitude to the 19 nonprofits who belong to our Homelessness Prevention System and are on the front lines of delivering financial assistance, case management, legal support and other services to vulnerable families in our community.

And none of this would be possible without the generous financial support from our growing network of public and private funders, who were instrumental in providing the resources needed to scale from a small pilot program in 2017 to a network assisting 1,600 families annually.

The past five years have shown what is possible when all sectors of our community work together to assist our most vulnerable neighbors. And now, our challenge is to scale this proven solution to meet the size of the crisis. By continuing to properly invest in Homelessness Prevention, our community can take a big step towards achieving a future where homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring.

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