SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to help homeless individuals suffering from mental health conditions, the City of San Jose will launch its Downtown Crisis Response Program.

In November, the City Council approved allocating $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to establish the program with the help of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).

PATH San Jose will launch the Downtown Crisis Response Initiative, deploying a crisis response team
dedicated to immediate dispatch and addressing mental health crises within the area’s homeless population.

“There is no denying that mental health and homelessness are deeply intertwined with one
another,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez, who represents the downtown core.

“The funding for PATH to facilitate the Downtown Crisis Response Initiative would continue the shift away from relying on law enforcement and move towards a more holistic and compassionate level of care.”

How it works

The program will rapidly deploy crisis dispatch clinicians across the downtown area upon notification of a homeless concern with a corresponding mental health or substance use issue.

The city says crisis dispatch clinicians will quickly assess needs, de-escalate crisis situations, and triage to healthcare or other services addressing individuals’ most immediate needs.

Upon completion of an initial assessment, crisis dispatch clinicians will connect to PATH’s multidisciplinary outreach team for street-based case management.

Once the immediate crisis is addressed, outreach case managers and the peer support specialist will transition clients to ongoing, housing-focused case management.

The city also notes that many of the homeless individuals living in the downtown area lack access to a stable income.

Through the program, a certified benefits specialist will determine benefits eligibility and provide application assistance and advocacy.

In addition, a housing specialist will develop relationships with community landlords as well as identify alternate housing solutions such as assisted living facilities, sober living homes, and shared housing options.

“I thank staff for recognizing this need in our Downtown Core and partnering with PATH on this initiative,” said Peralez.

Councilmember Peralez has also suggested that City Staff return to the Public Safety, Finance, and Strategic Services (PSFSS) committee in one year with an evaluation of the Downtown Crisis Response Program.