SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to get more people in the city government who understand the complexity of San Jose’s homeless crisis, one council member is proposing new criteria for all relevant city boards and commissions.
Councilmember Raul Peralez, who represents the downtown core, is calling for more city boards and commissions to include members with lived experience of homelessness. The proposal comes as the City Council is set to add a Lived Experience Homelessness Commissioner to the Housing and Community Development Commission (HCDC.)
“This long-overdue change in the makeup of our Housing and Community Development Commission is a step towards ensuring an important and necessary voice for those who have lived or are living through the challenges of homelessness in our Valley,” Councilmember Peralez said. “In taking this step, we can also ensure that the voice of this lived experience is heard at all HCDC meetings by appointing an alternate.”
In a memo to fellow city leaders, Councilmember Peralez also asks that an alternate for this position be appointed to the HCDC. Since taking office, Peralez has advocated for engaging and including those with lived experiences of homelessness in the city’s decision-making process. Most recently with the Diridon Station Area Advisory Group (SAAG), which advised the city on the Google Downtown West project.
“Many other City boards and commissions may benefit from the perspective of those with the lived experience of being unhoused, especially as it remains our highest priority,” added Councilmember Peralez. “Frankly, it should be our default to seek this perspective.”
The city council will consider Councilmember Peralez’s proposals during Tuesday’s regular meeting.