August 3, 2017
Dear District 2 Neighbors,
Temporary Bridge Housing Communities (BHC) have been the topic of conversation in San Jose for the last several weeks. I have heard directly from concerned constituents and received multiple phone calls and emails both in favor and opposed to the proposals developed by the City’s Housing Department. Many of the concerns have been based on incomplete or erroneous information that has circulated through our neighborhoods, causing fear and panic. I am writing this letter to clarify the misinformation and share my position on BHC.
First, I am unequivocally supportive of helping our unhoused residents. I believe that we bear a moral and civic responsibility in making certain that as our City thrives, no one gets left behind. I am dissatisfied with the way the BHC sites have been presented to our community. It is evident that a more structured process is necessary. We need sufficient community outreach to adequately reach and engage our diverse district. In an effort to demystify the BHC selection process, provide you with a clear understanding of the project's purpose and schedule, and listen to your concerns, I will be hosting a community meeting on Monday, August 21, 2017 (see flyer attached below for details). Before any decision is made, I hope that we can come together as a community and respectfully discuss how to house our most vulnerable residents.
Secondly, the Housing Department released a memo on July 28, 2017 outlining new criteria for the BHC sites. The new criteria considerably reduce the number of viable sites to four across the entire City. This memo is troubling to me because two of the four sites are either in or adjacent to District 2. I cannot support the memo as written because it places the brunt of helping our unhoused residents on our District 2 community. The original intent of BHC was to disperse the locations throughout all 10 City districts to mitigate impacts and share the burden. Though I am supportive of BHC, I cannot allow our district to disproportionately bear the responsibility of effectively being home to two BHC sites.
My office will work closely with the Housing Department to ensure that any plan that moves forward is fair, equitable, and informed by substantial community input. The needs of our homeless population are diverse and complicated, and the issue is too important to ignore. I will make certain all proposals are thoroughly vetted by residents before a Council decision is made.