Mayor Liccardo, Governor Newsom Celebrate San Jose’s First Emergency Interim Housing Community
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October 23, 2020

Media Contact:
Rachel Davis, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, 408.712.9149, rachel.davis@sanjoseca.gov

SAN JOSÉ, CA. - Today, Mayor Sam Liccardo was joined by Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Councilmember Dev Davis, along with representatives from, Habitat for Humanity, HomeFirst, and City staff at the Bernal Monterey Emergency Interim Housing Community for a tour and to meet the site's first residents. This community is the first of three in San Jose to complete construction and offer unsheltered residents safe and secure housing during COVID-19.  Built in a matter of months and at a fraction of the cost of traditional housing, the three  communities will provide transitional homes for more than 300 unhoused residents during the pandemic, and for many more long after the pandemic subsides.

"This pandemic has forced us to become more nimble to tackle new crises, and more cost-effective in tackling ongoing problems, like homelessness," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "By eliminating red tape and deploying more innovative, cost-effective construction methods, San Jose is showing how we can build housing in four months--where it previously took four years--at one-eighth of the standard cost of development.  This will become a national model for saving lives and rebuilding communities. I am grateful for the partnership and support from Governor Newsom and his team as we work to find creative solutions to this crisis."

During the pandemic, Bernal Monterey Emergency Interim Housing Community, along with two other sites in San Jose, will provide supportive services and a safe place to stay for San Jose's  most vulnerable residents. Funding for the communities came from the State's Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program (HHAP) and from the City's CARES act allocation. The swift construction of these sites pioneers an innovative approach for cities to address homelessness rapidly during COVID-19 temporarily, and offer transitional housing beyond the pandemic.

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"I thank the Legislature for its partnership in continuing this critical support to help local jurisdictions get thousands of vulnerable Californians off the streets and safely into shelter," said Governor Newsom. "Local leaders in San Jose and across the state are demonstrating what's possible when we work hand in hand with our city and county partners to realize immediate impact solutions to tackle this crisis."

The City also recently received a Project HomeKey grant of more than $12.2 million from the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant enabled the City to purchase a 76-room hotel, which it will use to house unsheltered, medically vulnerable residents for the duration of the pandemic. After the public health emergency subsides, the hotel will be converted into affordable housing for formerly homeless individuals as the City continues to look for innovative ways to move people from homelessness to housing. Today, the Governor announced an additional $200 million in Homekey funding including for a project in Santa Clara County.

Bernal Monterey Emergency Interim Housing Community consists of 78 individual bedroom units within 20 buildings. Each bedroom unit has its own bathroom and shower to allow for isolation during the pandemic, if needed. Common areas include a kitchen, laundry, administrative offices, support services space, and computer rooms. Work began on site at Bernal Monterey in midMay and completed in mid-September- just over four months of construction. The site welcomed 14 residents in the first phase of opening. The City coordinates with the County Office of Supportive Housing on placement of residents in emergency interim housing sites. Habitat for Humanity, East Bay/Silicon Valley acts as the general contractor for all three Emergency Housing communities, supplying direction for site builds.

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"This community is the epitome of partnership at its best," said Janice Jensen, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley. "When a convergence of crises challenges us, we've come together with innovative thinking, collective will, and a singular focus to protect the most vulnerable among us. Habitat is proud to see so many already safely housed here and working toward a more stable future."

HomeFirst provides onsite supportive services to residents including creating housing plans for residents and helping them find and apply to permanent housing, connection to mental health services, and other supportive resources.

"Housing our unhoused neighbors is the defining moral challenge facing our generation," continued Mayor Liccardo. "The COVID-19 pandemic has made the homelessness crisis even more acute, pushing countless additional people out of stable housing and onto the street."

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About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California's largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José's transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City's anticipated growth through the year 2040.stats

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