New housing for the homeless OK'd for VTA bus yard in San Jose

After hours of discussion and public comment on Thursday, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board voted to move forward with putting up temporary housing for the homeless.

The site, called the Cerone yard, is located near Zanker Road in north San Jose. The board also decided to consider putting some units at alternate locations.  

Mayor Matt Mahan said Cerone yard is ideal for 200 units of emergency interim housing.    

"We've surveyed over 100 sites and this is the best one we found we've already built six of these communities they're incredibly successful," said Mahan.

The proposed units would be similar to the single unit, prefabricated temporary homes already at other sites in San Jose.

But there is opposition, mainly from VTA employees.

They said  there are three other alternate sites owned by VTA that are more suitable for housing the homeless.

"We strongly recommend  being able to move forward with other sites that are more public facing that have more access to public transit that folks who live on the streets use every day," said one speaker at the podium.

"It's going to get cold and there are people out there who are dying . This project will help ease some of the burden that is out there on the street," said Joe Lopez, a resident.

Workers said  the Cerone yard  is the only VTA property that can be expanded to build a new operations control center for its buses and trains.

They said the deadly mass shooting in May 2021 damaged the old control center.

Employees said having a control center and homeless housing on the same site is not a good idea.

"In all my years here, I have never seen this type of decision-making without community stakeholders, employee input and collaboration," said VTA employee Tammy Dhanota.  

"I feel bad about the VTA workers but the people who are going into these sites are going to be vetted. There will be a locked gate," said Gail Osmer, a San Jose resident.

Moving forward, the mayor's office said there will be negotiations between VTA staff and the city about the terms of a lease agreement to put 200 units at Cerone yard. 

On Octo. 5, the VTA board is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the agreement or to put some units at other VTA sites.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU.  Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU