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Mayor Liccardo Announces Developer for City’s Three Emergency Interim Housing Sites

City of San José, Habitat for Humanity, The SHP Foundation, and WeHOPE partner on emergency interim housing for unsheltered homeless individuals

Post Date:06/18/2020 10:00 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 June 18, 2020

Contact:

Rachel Davis, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, 408.712.9149, rachel.davis@sanjoseca.gov

SAN JOSÉ, CA. - Today, Mayor Sam Liccardo proudly announced the selection of Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley (“Habitat”) as the developer and general contractor for the City of San José’s Emergency Interim Housing sites for unsheltered homeless residents. Additionally, he announced that The SHP Foundation will be donating the emergency housing shelter units for one of the Emergency Interim Housing sites, which will provide emergency housing for 108 individuals.

“The pandemic has spurred us to show how quickly we can move to get emergency housing built for our most COVID-vulnerable residents, and beyond this pandemic, for our homeless residents,”  said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “By innovating nimbly with great community partners, we’re building more than 300 apartments on three sites in a few weeks, where it previously would have taken several years and seven times the cost.”

San Jose is currently facing the unprecedented challenge of twin crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and homelessness. At the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, the City had an estimated 5,117 unsheltered residents (84% of our homeless population) and only 849 shelter beds available. This amounted to more than six unsheltered residents for every one shelter bed in the City. Additionally, social distancing guidelines compelled the existing shelters to reduce capacity to allow for appropriate spacing of beds.

The City moved quickly to increase shelter capacity, erecting temporary shelters such as the mass congregate shelters at South Hall, Parkside Hall, Gateway Pavilion at the County Fairgrounds, and Camden and Bascom Community Centers. However, once the public health crisis abates, the shelter crisis remains, and we do not want to send unsheltered residents back out into the streets and down by our creeks. 

In response, the City is currently developing three Emergency Interim Housing sites for homeless individuals to be able to shelter in place – 108 emergency shelter beds in modular units east of Willow Glen on Evans Lane, 78 emergency shelter beds in modular units in South San José at Bernal Road and Monterey Road, and 120 emergency shelter beds in modular units on Caltrans land at Rue Ferrari and the Silicon Valley Boulevard onramp for northbound Highway 101. Habitat will be developing all three sites and delivering the emergency housing on an aggressive design and construction schedule. 

 “This pandemic has reinforced the importance of housing, and the critical need for safe, decent housing for all of our community,” said Janice Jensen, CEO of Habitat. “Habitat is proud to take part in a solution that not only provides emergency shelter in the near term, but continues putting more of our neighbors on the path to permanent housing long after.” A 34-year affordable development veteran in the area, Habitat has traditionally focused on building and preserving affordable ownership housing. In recent years, Habitat has expanded its building efforts to include partnerships that house people experiencing homelessness.”

The City’s emergency housing efforts attracted private philanthropy due to the goal of quickly housing unsheltered residents and the expedited delivery schedules. The SHP Foundation is purchasing and donating the modular units for the Evans Lane Emergency Interim Housing site in association with its community partner, WeHOPE –– a longtime service provider to unsheltered residents with programs including Dignity on Wheels mobile shower, laundry, and telehealth. The modular units being donated by The SHP Foundation will provide 108 emergency shelter beds at the Evans Lane site which will focus on sheltering families.

“As an immigrant, I am very thankful for the education and opportunities here in California,” said Susanna and Peter Pau of The SHP Foundation. “We are in the real estate field, and we feel the pain of the housing crisis. As Christians, we want to give back to care for the less fortunate and vulnerable.”

These public health investments will additionally help address the City’s intersecting shelter crisis by providing transitional housing as a future Bridge Housing Community after the immediate pandemic emergency subsides. The City’s first Bridge Housing Community at Mabury Road took approximately four years to develop. In comparison, the first Emergency Interim Housing Community at Bernal Road and Monterey Road, scheduled to open in late July, will take only four months to develop.

“To end homelessness, teamwork will make the dream work. Susanna and Peter Pau and The SHP Foundation have shown our community tremendous heart through their generosity and commitment to building a more equitable future,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We’re incredibly blessed to expand our relationship with two great partners, Habitat for Humanity and WeHOPE.”  

The City’s Emergency Housing efforts leverage a number of State policies that have been enacted before and during this pandemic:

  • Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-32-20 to provide for local flexibility in erecting emergency housing and suspending state environmental review (CEQA) for structures that utilize State homelessness funding (HEAP, HHAP). The City Council has subsequently reallocated $17 million of HHAP funds for emergency housing.
  • The City of San José has unique state legislative authority via AB 2176 (Campos, 2016) and the Shelter Crisis Act to enact an Emergency Shelter Crisis Declaration, which was declared March 20, 2020 and ratified by City Council on April 7, 2020, that allows for building codes to be waived and local approvals and procurement processes to be expedited or streamlined.
  • Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N 23-20 prior to the onset of COVID-19 that made available State-owned Caltrans sites for the development of interim homeless housing. The City of San José was the first to work with Caltrans for interim homeless housing via AB 2176 authorization that inspired this executive order. As a result, the agreement executed between the City and Caltrans is now the template for Caltrans land to be utilized for interim homeless housing by all cities.

 

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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.

About Habitat for Humanity East Bay Silicon Valley

As an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley believes in a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We create opportunities for families to transform their lives, gaining the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better future. Working together as a community, we build homes with affordable mortgages, repair and renovate existing homes, counsel first-time homebuyers, and revitalize neighborhoods in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties. For more information, please visit HabitatEBSV.org or call 866.450.4432. 

About The SHP Foundation

The SHP Foundation, an affiliate of Sand Hill Property Company, is a Christian-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded by Susanna and Peter Pau. This donation of modular units is in furtherance of its mission to perform charitable work and charitable giving for the greater good of the community. Through its partnerships with local churches and Christian-based organizations like WeHOPE, The SHP Foundation’s goal is to serve vulnerable populations in order to address the most pressing needs of the community, including housing instability.

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