MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KRON) — In an effort to address Santa Clara County’s homeless crisis, two supervisors are aiming to invest $25 million into building a network of housing complexes throughout the county.
Supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee announced Thursday a proposal that would support the development of 10 additional transitional housing sites using prefabricated housing units made out of ship containers.
Both supervisors and supporters of the proposal held a press conference at LifeMoves Mountain View, an interim housing facility that was built in less than six months and at a fraction of the cost of a homeless center.
“This is such an incredibly cost-effective way to address the need, we can do more, we can do it more quickly, and we can do it at a lesser cost, all of that makes it a model that we should not only support but reproduce.”
“We’re hoping to get 10 of these in Santa Clara County, if we can do that in short order then that’s 1,000 units of interim supportive housing and over the course of a five-year period we hope to help 20,000 people.”
In May, the interim housing facility in Mountain View opened its doors, featuring 100 separate units, each with private storage and a door that locks.
In total, the facility has 124 beds and the potential of serving 350 plus people each year as clients transition out of the site.
According to LifeMoves, the program has already proven to be effective as 69% of individuals and 89% of families who go through the program find stable housing.
“I’m hoping that this can be a game-changer for us,” said Lee.
“I myself served in the U.S. Navy, retired after 28 years, and deployed to Iraq for a year,” Lee added.
“During my time in Iraq most of my time, I actually lived in a container housing unit just like this.”
The site also provides supportive services to help stabilize clients and prepare them for permanent housing by connecting them with mental health care, behavioral health services, SSI, job placement resources, free classes, and a wide array of other services.
“The first thing you need is you to put a roof over people’s heads but more excitingly is that this also comes with what we call wrap-around services,” said Lee.
“Some will be here for three months, some may be here for six to 12 months, the whole point is that we’ll get them off the streets from the creek, from the underpasses to somewhere that is stabilized,” Lee added.
“I think this is how we’ll hopefully be able to really reduce homelessness that we see all over the place.”
The Board of Supervisors is set to vote on the $25 million funding proposal at the Sept. 28 board meeting.