SAN JOSÉ, CA. - San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo commends the City Council for approving his Budget proposal to more than triple the amount of rent assistance and homelessness prevention funding. The Mayor’s direction resulted in $14.85 million of funding that was approved at last night’s council meeting. This will be paired with an additional $8.67 million, being considered by Council in the coming weeks, for a total commitment of more than $23.5 million to help struggling families and individuals at the brink of, or already experiencing, homelessness.
This commitment comes as part of the City’s FY20-21 budget process, and is a significant increase of more than seven times the original $3 million in funding for rent assistance and homelessness prevention services. This money will be geared towards preventing families and individuals from falling into homelessness and to assist those that have had their income adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mayor’s proposal increases the proposed City Budget to more than $23 million from multiple funding sources including local funds, state, and federal grants.
“This pandemic, recession, and recent protests have laid bare the systemic inequities that drive unjust outcomes—and we must do more to support families vulnerable to homelessness,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This funding will provide a critical first step on that path.”
A significant portion of the additional funding will be allocated to support the COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program, led by Destination: Home, Sacred Heart Community Service, and more than 70 community partners. Many of these grassroots community organizations are on-the-ground assisting families and individuals who have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and serving communities of color where the need is the greatest. Hispanic, Latinx, and Black residents are at much greater risk of homelessness demonstrated in data compiled in a recent racial equity report from Destination: Home, Race and Homelessness in Santa Clara County, California.
The COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program is part of the Silicon Valley Strong
initiative started by Mayor Liccardo, to provide financial assistance to low-income families and individuals who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a devastating toll on our lowest-income residents - particularly people of color - and it's pushing tens-of-thousands of our neighbors ever closer to homelessness,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home. “We must act now to assist the growing number of families in-need, and this significant investment from the City of San Jose will be critical towards our community's recovery.”
“Tens of thousands of families are living on the edge right now because of their sacrifices to keep all of us safe, especially immigrant families left out of other safety net responses,” said Poncho Guevara, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Service. “We are proud to partner with the City and a broad coalition of trusted organizations that work closely with vulnerable communities to ensure that some are not left behind.”
The total funding is a creative mixture of local, state, and federal funding sources:
- $3 million from state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funding
- $2.85 million from Measure E (before Covid-19, was anticipated to be ~$6 million)
- $2 million from the City’s Housing Authority Litigation Award (HALA) fund
- $7 million from City’s Coronavirus Relief Fund from the federal CARES Act
- $8.67 million from federal HOME funding
The $8.67 million in federal HOME funding will be considered by City Council later in June.
In addition to supporting the COVID-19 Financial Assistance program, funding will also flow to the Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System, which provides rental assistance, legal defense and other services to households at imminent risk of losing their housing.
About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States. It is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.