The housing first concept (which we support)—first developed by Pathways to Housing http://pathwaystohousing.org/ —method of dealing with the homeless, works, as this story from the San Jose Mercury News reports.
We hear a lot about the great divide in Silicon Valley — the gap between the rich and the poor. Nowhere is that more evident than in the 300-plus homeless encampments in Santa Clara County, some not far from million dollar homes and billion dollar corporations.
Nobody should have to live like that — not in Silicon Valley, not anywhere.
We were reminded of this cruel reality with the closing of the Story Road encampment, sometimes called the Jungle. It was a heartbreaking scene as those who have been living there — some for years — tried to pack up their belongings, wet and muddy from the rain.
For me, homelessness is not something that happens to other people. It’s personal. Twenty years ago, I watched my mother lose her grip on life, and eventually her home. How could my mother end up homeless? We had lived a typical suburban life growing up.
Then I realized, if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone.
According to the 2013 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey, 7,631 people in the county are homeless on any given night, and nearly three out of four (74 percent) of them are out in the cold, living on the streets, in cars or in encampments.
HomeFirst, http://www.homefirstscc.org/ one of the largest providers of homeless services in Santa Clara County, has been bringing people in from the cold for nearly 35 years. Earlier this month, we opened our cold weather shelter program, which provides a warm bed, two nutritious meals and a hot shower to those who have nowhere else to turn, which will likely include many former residents of the Story Road encampment.
While HomeFirst has become a local leader in the housing-first movement, we haven’t abandoned our commitment to providing emergency shelter when it’s cold. Rapidly placing homeless individuals in permanent housing is the most cost-effective and humane way to end homelessness, but it doesn’t alleviate the need for some emergency shelter beds.
Retrieved December 11, 2014 from http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_27110575/shelter-first-homeless-still-need-place-get-warm