In the last three years, nearly 10,000 people experiencing homelessness have moved into permanent housing, as a result of a coordinated, community-wide response in Santa Clara County. This is a substantial milestone that’s helping our community curb the growth of homelessness. Still, the crisis remains entrenched, with too many people suffering the experience.
When we still see so many people experiencing homelessness, it can feel like our efforts aren’t having an impact. But there’s truth in data and we’re seeing that investment in long-term solutions like permanent supportive housing and attacking the problem upstream through prevention, policy and systems change are working.
Since 2020, our community has collectively accomplished:
The gains of the past three years build on the progress made through our first community plan (2015-2020), when our community truly began collaborating on a shared strategy and accountability metrics to end homelessness. In fact, since 2015, our collective efforts have doubled Supportive Housing System capacity and helped almost 22,000 people find a home.
While it is clear there is much more work to do, collective efforts in recent years are curbing the growth of homelessness in Santa Clara County, and providing insight into how our community’s resources should be deployed.
To be specific, today, fewer households are becoming homeless and more people are ending their homelessness with permanent housing than they were three years ago. We are heading in the right direction, but must scale up our efforts to bring these two trends into equilibrium.
Save the Date
Join us for discussion with local leaders as we dive deeper into the data that’s demonstrating impact, discuss the strategies underway and the work ahead to reduce overall homelessness in our community.
Countywide partners are continually striving to improve systems and find innovative ways to reduce and prevent homelessness. In the past three years, our community has been shepherding a variety of strategies that are helping bring an increasing number of our unhoused neighbors indoors.
Key Initiatives Implemented Since 2020:
Building More Permanently Affordable Housing: Our community is strategically aligning public resources – like the Measure A housing bond, Housing Authority vouchers and San José’s Measure E transfer tax – and a variety of private funding sources, including major philanthropic contributions from Cisco & Apple through our Supportive Housing & Innovation Fund to spur almost 50 deeply affordable and supportive housing developments with approximately 5,000 homes now open, under construction or in the immediate development pipeline.
Preventing Homelessness: Launched as a pilot five years ago, a broad public-private partnership has expanded the countywide Homelessness Prevention System to serve more than 2,100 households a year. By providing at-risk households with relatively small amounts of money and key support services, more than 95% of these families remained stably housed while enrolled in the program.
Deploying New Shelter Models: Local jurisdictions throughout Santa Clara County are embracing new emergency and interim shelter models – like modular developments, tiny homes and hotel conversions – to quickly provide dignified shelter for people as part of the path to permanent housing. Shelter options have grown 15% since 2020, with hundreds of additional units in development.
Ending Family Homelessness: In 2021, partners launched the Heading Home campaign to end family homelessness. Leveraging federal emergency housing vouchers and other resources, the campaign has enrolled all eligible families with children in a housing program and connected 635 families to permanent housing.
The Path Forward to End Homelessness
Our current efforts are curbing the growth of homelessness in Santa Clara County, but we must continue to scale up these effective, evidence-based solutions to build on this progress and reduce overall homelessness in our community.
Specifically, we must:
- Continue to build more deeply affordable and supportive housing;
- Continue to expand temporary shelter options, basic needs services and other strategies to assist those suffering on the streets;
- Expand homelessness prevention programs that keep at-risk families and individuals housed; AND
- Attack the problem upstream through policy and systems changes that address the societal and economic forces that continue to push more families into homelessness.
Let’s remember, no one suffers from homelessness more than those without a roof over their heads, and this suffering has persisted for far too long.
The rates of homelessness experienced today are a symptom of decades of inaction and there’s unfortunately no quick fix. It’s a lack of adequate investment that’s keeping us from realizing the full potential of the solutions underway. But by summoning the collective will and resources to address this challenge, an end to homelessness in our community is possible.