New transitional housing plan for the homeless in San Jose

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The city of San Jose is moving forward with a plan to build the largest transitional housing site in the county to help house the homeless.

The city will be applying for state funds to build the units and if accepted, the building would go up at a lot near Branham Lane and Monterey Highway, where a large encampment already sits. 

Neighbors in the Deer Run Community that backs up to this city-owned site say this once empty lot transformed into a homeless encampment area over the last few years.

“We’ve had campers in that lot for the last couple of years anyway. First they didn’t want to move them because of COVID and then they just don’t want to move them and it has generated some problems, for instance people dump garbage up and down this street. They are people coming and going and dropping bottles of alcohol. We’ve had two or three fires in that lot that the fire department has had to respond to,” Theresa Nelson said.

Neighbor Theresa Nelson says she favors affordable housing in place of this encampment. However, she worries about the logistics in this small space.

“I don’t mind seeing some low income housing there. I think 176 or even 120 is way too big for this little neighborhood. Where are people going to be able to hang out during the day? Where are they going to park?” Nelson said.

If the city’s application is accepted by the state through Project Homekey, San Jose Supervisor Matt Mahan who represents District 10 says more than 170 units would go up, housing more than 200 homeless individuals.

“One of the things that’s unique about this site is we’re using prefab modular units which you can stack, which you can build quickly. They come of the assembly line at about $35,000 per unit which is significantly cheaper than how our county has been building permanent supportive housing at $850,000 a door so this is an opportunity to scale our solution and help many more people,” Mahan said.

Mahan says the site would also have onsite services. 

If all goes as planned, he hopes to break ground in the spring and open the site by next summer.

Despite his enthusiasm, Nelson says other neighbors also have their concerns.

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