SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After San Jose opened its first “bridge housing community” in 2020, the city is looking to extend its lease to continue keeping its more than 6,000 homeless residents off the streets.

Since its opening, the housing community has provided the city’s homeless population with a safe and stable place to stay and offered supportive services while tenants searched for permanent housing.

In February 2020 — California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and nonprofit HomeFirst to celebrate the opening of the 40 tiny homes on Mabury Road.

The former Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) location sits across from the new Berryessa/North San Jose Transit Center and Coyote Creek — offering residents proximity to transit, but more importantly, cheap land to allow for the construction.

The project cost the city about $2.2 million to build with the help of the state’s Homeless Emergency Assistance Program.

The lease for the land, which was formerly a construction storage area, between the city and VTA has expired.

Now, the San Jose City Council will vote Tuesday to execute a lease amendment to extend the lease with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) through December 31.

If approved, the city said it will continue to hold discussions throughout the year with VTA to extend the lease beyond December 2022.

The project

The goal of the project is to house unhoused individuals for a few months as they work toward permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

While living in interim housing, program participants have individual rooms, which are similar to very small apartments.

The site is located at 1408 Mabury Road offers 80-square-foot homes and 120-square-foot units for individuals who use wheelchairs.

Over the last two years — the bridge housing community has been open to homeless individuals who have a “qualified vulnerability index” score, are in a rapid housing program, have a job, or are job-ready.

Interim Housing Communities

The city now operates five interim housing communities also known as Bridge Housing Communities (BCHs) — one on Felipe Avenue near Story Road and the Mabury location.

Program participants have access to numerous resources to help them succeed in their efforts to find permanent housing and remain stably housed.

These resources include job placement assistance, mental health counseling, life skills training, and assistance in applying for permanent housing.