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February 21, 2012 > Pilot program for chronically homeless

Pilot program for chronically homeless

100 housing vouchers and services will be provided

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Lingxia Meng

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved the development of a pilot program to provide 100 housing vouchers for chronically homeless individuals and families identified through the Housing 1000 campaign.

To qualify for the program, individuals or a member of a family must have: 1) A disabling condition and have been residing on the streets, or in a place not meant for human habitation, an emergency shelter, or a safe haven; and 2) have been continually homeless for one year, or longer, or have had four or more episodes of homelessness within the past three years. For these purposes, a disabling condition is defined as a physical disability, mental illness, severe depression, alcohol or drug abuse, chronic health problems, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, trauma or a developmental disability.

"I know from personal experience how important it is to have stable housing," said President George Shirakawa, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "My mom's family came to California from the mid-west dustbowl and worked in the fields to survive. More often than not, home was a labor camp beside a highway. This Voucher program is a part of the County's effort to move beyond the band-aid approach, such as temporary shelters, to more permanent housing solutions."

Under the program, the County will spend $1.2M annually to provide 100 housing vouchers for chronically homeless persons. An additional 25 vouchers will be provided with AB 109 funding, which will provide a subsidy of approximately $1,000 per month for each household.

"This is a great example of doing the right thing in a fiscally responsible way," said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Chair of the County of Santa Clara's Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee and member of "Destination: Home's" Honorary Council. "I am pleased to be a part of this new effort to provide housing support for the chronically homeless, while still saving taxpayer dollars."

The Housing Vouchers program is designed to operate for 12 months on a pilot basis and be evaluated in a year. The County's goal is to implement the program by April 2012.

For more information about "Destination: Home," visit www.DestinationHomescc.org. For more information about Housing 1000, visit www.Housing1000sv.org.

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