News & Press

New Santa Clara County Ordinance to help Affordable Housing

On February 8th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that expands access to affordable housing by requiring that the prospective tenants who receive a housing voucher, subsidy, or other housing assistance be given equal consideration when seeking rental housing in unincorporated Santa Clara County.  The ordinance prohibits landlords from rejecting a prospective tenant solely because he or she would use a voucher or other subsidy to pay rent, and also prohibits landlords from including statements such as “No Section 8 Accepted” in advertisements for rental housing.  The ordinance will take effect in January 2018. “Homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing are a crisis in our county,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors.  “This ordinance helps veterans, homeless families, and other community members use Section 8 vouchers and other subsidies to access the affordable housing they need and deserve.” On any given night, over 6,500 county residents are homeless, and over 2,000 have been homeless for a year or more.  Despite an extreme need for housing solutions in the county, existing housing resources are underutilized.  In a recent month, 826 federal housing assistance vouchers in the county went unused, and 217 federal housing vouchers for homeless veterans went unused. “The ordinance will help ensure that more county residents are securely housed,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D.  “It makes sure that residents who have the ability to pay for housing will be considered by prohibiting discrimination based on a renter’s use of a housing subsidy or assistance.” In enacting this ordinance, the County joins 13 states and dozens of local jurisdictions nationwide that have already passed similar ordinances improving access to affordable housing.  Similar ordinances adopted by other jurisdictions have been shown by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to increase the use of housing assistance funds by up to 11%. Such ordinances have also been shown to increase geography of opportunity by helping promote diverse, inclusive neighborhoods and communities. “Santa Clara County is proud to take this step toward ensuring access to affordable housing for some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” […]

The Promise Land Encampment and Designated Homeless Camps

A sanctuary for the homeless in Oakland, complete with a makeshift shower, portable toilet, kitchen, medical supplies and garden, was cleared out of a park February, 2nd by police officers and public works employees. During the encampment’s 12-day existence in the park beneath a highway overpass, “the Village” or also known as the “Promise Land” became an organized community, becoming a rules-based alternative to living on the sidewalk streets. The rules included no drugs, alcohol or violence was tolerated on the premises. Young supporters of the promise land patrolled the park’s perimeter at night as self-designated security guards, while others dropped off food and help build small rainproof shelters out of wooden pallets.

California State Senator Scott Wiener: ‘SF Lost Their Way On Housing’

The topic for years was the city’s housing shortage, and how it was escalating prices. It was amazing to hear the wave of counterproductive, even clueless, solutions that 10 of the 11 supervisors would suggest for the problem. These ranged from decreasing building densities to strengthening bureaucratic review, to placing construction moratoriums on certain neighborhoods, to strengthening tenant protections that are already strict, and that have led landlords to abandon between 10,000 and 30,000 units citywide.

HUD’s progress and the Hopes for the current Administration

Trump’s nominee for HUD secretary, Ben Carson whose single mother relied on public assistance for a time has openly expressed disdain for those who need government support. He thinks it becomes a crutch for generations to depend on assistance. He has suggested that hard work is the only solution for people in need. While he may have a part of a point, and his solution certainly is a part of the equation, it by no means is the only answer.

Rise in deaths of the homeless in Santa Clara County for 2016

123 homeless people have died in Santa Clara County this year, which is the highest figure in at least six years and nearly double last year’s total a staggering statistic. No one understands why because the number of homeless is declining why is the number of deaths rising, the trend is troubling. The spike alerted the attention of Dr. Michelle Jorden of the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner/Coroners Office, who is leading a full comprehensive analysis of the deaths going back to 2011 looking toward finding patterns or trends.

Some Facts About The State of Homelessness in 2016

The US homeless population 2007-2016 (HUD) The positives to take away from the Nation’s Homeless situation in 2016, include a national drop by 15% since 2007, that’s 97,000 fewer Americans living on the streets or in shelters, according to a year-end report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A Billionaire’s Plan to use Shipping Containers for housing for the Homeless

The Silicon Valley real estate developer John Sobrato proposes to build 200 mini apartments in Santa Clara, California. Tiny houses have emerged popular in the past decade as a promising way to house more homeless people for less money. Now the idea has gained interest from a powerful player in housing the billionaire California real estate developer John Sobrato, who revealed a proposal this month to build 200 micro-apartments for the homeless and low-income renters in Santa Clara.

$20 Million to be spend by Facebook on Affordable Housing

Tech company sets out to spend about $20 million in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, Calif. Social Media and Tech company Facebook Inc. is solidifying its friendship with its neighbors for its plans to expand its campus and bring 6,500 new employees to the area, which very well could move some locals fearing growing housing shortage and price rise in rental property. So, Facebook Inc. announced Friday it will spend about $20 million in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, Calif., the two cities that surround its campus, to create a fund to build new housing, support job-training programs and provide legal assistance to tenants in danger of eviction.

Brief Peek at the Homeless Atmosphere in Palo Alto & East Palo Alto

MAYOR’S VIEW East Palo Alto Mayor Donna Rutherford has been working with nonprofit organizations, faith-based communities, and housing advocates to find housing strategies for homelessness in East Palo Alto. Rutherford has seen an increase in the number of homeless people, including families with children. She identifies the main issue of homelessness in East Palo Alto as the lack of available jobs and affordable housing. “Many people are buying homes in East Palo Alto, which is driving up the cost of houses and forcing the renters to move out of East Palo Alto to other places with lower rental prices,” Rutherford said. She believes East Palo Alto bears a disproportionate housing burden. “People are desperate for housing and it leads to many overcrowding and illegal dwelling units in East Palo Alto,” Rutherford said. People are then forced to move out of their homes because of unsafe living conditions. According to Rutherford, substance abuse and mental health can also a possible contributing factor to homelessness.

The Hidden Students of Homelessness

The mask of stability provided to students by their schools cannot remove the “instability of homelessness”. We know that on any given night nearly 1,000 youth are living on the streets of Santa Clara County, but it’s believed a far greater amount of homeless children and young adults are homeless but are out of sight, unseen in our valley. This undercounted is something that the Bill Wilson Center wants to correct.