San Jose plans to construct more emergency interim housing

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The latest efforts by the city of San Jose to address its homeless crisis seeks to build more emergency interim housing. 

Over the past 18 months, the city has already constructed three emergency interim housing communities throughout San Jose in an effort to get more people off the street. 

“One of the primary strategies of the city of San Jose has been to quickly build what we call emergency interim housing,” said Ragan Henninger, deputy director for San Jose’s Housing Department. 

“It’s a quick build, modular construction, it takes anywhere from six to nine months to build and it’s a fraction of the cost of building a traditional affordable apartment.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s city council meeting, city officials will vote on constructing a fourth emergency interim housing site located at a parking lot owned by the city that sits across the San Jose Police Department’s administration building. 

The other three emergency interim housing sites are located at Monterey and Bernal roads, near Rue Ferrari and Highway 101, and at Evans Lane — in total, temporarily keeping 300 unhoused residents off the street. 

“We’re about to start construction on a fourth emergency interim housing site that will be on a piece of city-owned land that’s currently vacant, but the site wasn’t large enough to build 80 new units of housing,” said Henninger. 

“Overall we’re constructing around 80 new emergency interim housing beds.”

The LifeMoves prefabricated housing units made out of ship containers located in Mountain View. 

The San Hill Foundation (SHP), a private Christian foundation, will donate the 16 prefabricated modular containers needed for the site and will be able to house up to 76 individuals. 

Two separate modular buildings will be used as common areas that include a kitchen, office space, and dining area. 

“We use funding from the state of California and also from the federal government to provide the onsite services once they’re open and operating,” said Henninger. 

Over the last several years San Jose has seen the number of unhoused residents increase. 

City officials are still unsure of the exact number of people who have been pushed onto the streets over the last few years after the county canceled its biennial homeless count in January due to COVID-19. 

“We all see and feel the housing crisis in this region,” said Henninger. 

“What the emergency interim housing does is really provide that temporary safe place for someone to stay while we help them find a long-term, permanent, affordable housing solution.”

The city will pay an estimated $6 million to Devcon Construction to construct the emergency interim housing site and a total of $7.7 million for the entire project. 

The city says it will use the funds from the American Rescue Plan Fund, the Multi-Source Housing Fund, the Homeless Housing Assistance, and Prevention Fund, and a grant from Destination: Home to pay for the project. 

Currently, the site is still at 65% of the design stage as the construction documents look to be completed and the agreement with Devcon to be finalized by the end of October.

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