Overflowing Need for Homelessness Prevention 

Since 2017, the Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System has provided over 14,000 people at imminent risk of homelessness with the critical financial assistance, legal support and other services needed to maintain their housing. 

Not only is the Homelessness Prevention System helping an overwhelming majority of the households enrolled in the program maintain their housing, but the majority are continuing to stay housed years after leaving the program – only 7% of households become homeless two years later.

Although this unique partnership between public agencies, private funders and nonprofit service providers proves to be a successful model for addressing our homelessness crisis upstream, the overflowing need for homelessness prevention requires more commitment than ever before. 

Homelessness Prevention Is a Proven Solution 

Destination: Home and our partners have been working with researchers at Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) to study the impact of the Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System. 

The study is providing more data to support what we’ve observed locally – immediate cash assistance prevents homelessness. In fact, the likelihood of households enrolled in the program becoming homeless is reduced by approximately 80%

 This was no mere delay in homelessness, but a persistent prevention — hundreds of children, women and men spared an indefinite turn in a shelter or out on the street. 

John Nagy ’00M.A., No Small-Scale Dreams Here

Sparing families from the needless suffering that comes with being unhoused remains the most important reason for investing in homelessness prevention strategies. 

<em>Destination Home CEO Jen Loving and LEOs James Sullivan present at LEOs Outsmarting Poverty event Photo courtesy of LEO<em> <em>Photos by Casey PatrickUniversity of Notre Dame<em>

Demand is Outpacing Capacity

It’s clear homelessness prevention is a proven solution to homelessness, but the demand for prevention assistance is overwhelming current resources. There are 2 to 3 times the number of families in need of assistance than the Homelessness Prevention System is able to serve.  

Over half of the families enrolled in the Homelessness Prevention System spend their entire income on rent alone To make matters worse their rent continues to increase the average rent among program participants increased by 12 year over year

This data only represents the households the program is able to assist. 69% of all extremely low-income families in Santa Clara County are severely rent-burdened – meaning they spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities – and often just one crisis away from homelessness. 

With so many families enduring unsustainable living conditions, it’s vital that our community continues building more permanent, deeply affordable housing and expanding the Homelessness Prevention System so we can continue ending and preventing homelessness. 

Cash-assistance homelessness prevention programs give the most financially vulnerable among us just enough space and time to breathe and think and regroup while remaining in place. All society needs to do now is fund them.

John Nagy ’00M.A., No Small-Scale Dreams Here

The Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System is making an impact in our community as a result of the commitment and collaboration of our partners and funders – from the arduous work that our direct service providers do on the ground to the investments from funders that make the work possible. 

Ending homelessness requires the commitment of our entire community. To shed more light on the ways individuals can contribute to our collective efforts, we are spotlighting our longtime partners Jody and Curtis Chang.  

Jody and Curtis initially connected with Destination: Home in 2017 when they were looking for a way to invest the proceeds from their first home back into the community. They were acutely aware that the hot housing market they were benefiting from was causing a strain and a cost-burden on local renters, and pushing many to the brink of homelessness. With this in mind and led by their faith, it was important to them to use the appreciated value to help other people stay housed. Through Jody’s work with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2), they discovered a new initiative being launched by Destination: Home and its partners to help people stay housed – the Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System (HPS). 

It was a perfect fit, and they’ve remained steadfast supporters of the program ever since.

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