Dear District 2 Residents,
After hours of public comment and over four hours of Council deliberation the following items related to temporary housing for homeless individuals, known as Bridge Housing Communities (BHC), were approved by City Council on August 29, 2017.
- Council will maintain the original direction of identifying potential sites for siting a temporary housing facility in each Council district.
- The Housing Department will begin looking for additional sites that can potentially host a Bridge Housing Community, sites such as:
- Commercial and/or industrial sites; and
- Underutilized public lands currently owned by Santa Clara County, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Valley Transportation Authority, and Caltrans
- The original evaluation criteria for potential sites was revised to the following:
- Access to transit or a commitment from another agency to provide transportation;
- Ready access to utilities (electricity, water and sanitary sewer); and
- A vacant or minimally developed site of at least 0.50 acres or a 10,000 square foot building plus parking for 16 vehicles and a dumpster enclosure.
- The Housing Department will write a letter to VTA, the County and other agencies requesting an inventory of lands that could be used as potential temporary housing sites.
- The Housing Department will continue to coordinate with the District 3 Office and Destination: Home in planning next steps for the development of a Homeless Task Force.
- Within 60 days the Housing Department will return to Council with the following:
- A prioritized list of potential BHC sites in order of viability and readiness for development. The Housing Department will seek Council direction as to whether or not to proceed with a project on three or fewer sites.
- A detailed community outreach plan, which should include:
- A small number of regional community meetings (e.g; North, South, East, West and Central San Jose) to begin the outreach process;
- Participation at each community meeting from the project designer, developer and program operator to provide details of tiny home prototype, program structure, security, operations, good neighbor plans, etc;
- Management of the meeting by an experienced professional facilitator, preferably a facilitator who will consider work on a pro-bono basis; and
- Public forums to receive input from the community, including possible suggestions to homeless housing solutions.
- A recommendation as to whether the benefits of a BHC pilot program outweigh the opportunity cost of the resources and staff time necessary to implement it.
- An account of the funding that is currently set aside for the BHC project, and identification of other potential homelessness programs or projects that the dollars could be used to support.
- A comprehensive timeline for future work on BHCs
- The timeline should indicate the length of an outreach process and outline for potential task force process would take and should also estimate when the Council would be able to approve a final BHC project and when that project would be up and running.
Though my original Council recommendation to eliminate all vacant City owned property from the list of potential BHC sites was not accepted, I am confident that we as a community can work together to find better alternatives. I strongly recommend that you remain engaged with this process and help us find a location that would be suitable for our district. Please contact your County Supervisor, VTA and Caltrans and encourage them to collaborate with the City in temporarily housing our most vulnerable residents. It is important to note that within the next 60 days this item will be returning to Council for final approval of the project design and location. If after a review of the feasibility of this project we come to find that it is not an appropriate investment or undertaking for our City, we can recommend that the project be eliminated and that funds be redirected to other more effective solutions.
Furthermore, I am very happy that the Council decided to move forward with my recommendation for a Homeless Taskforce. A Homeless Taskforce will help guide City policies on homelessness with community input and expert direction.