Proposed San Jose homeless housing project under fire

A homeless housing project in San Jose is under fire from neighbors. The San Jose Planning Commission is expected to move forward on a county-funded apartment complex located at 2500 Senter Road that will provide permanent housing for 160 homeless people.

The site is a vacant lot is South Central San Jose where a church once stood. It's land owned by Santa Clara County that could be transformed into a four-story apartment complex called the "Renascent Place" for 160 units for chronically homeless individuals with onsite supportive staff and security.

Dozens of residents aired their Wednesday's San Jose Planning Commission Meeting.

Francisco Lozano said his chief concern is the size of the project. He said it will increase crime in a community near two elementary schools, a library, ballpark and an existing homeless encampment at a creek.

"Tthey are actually going to bring individuals from Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, all over the county to our facility and very few people living in the creek are going to be housed at this project," said Lozano.

"If there was another site we would try to use that site as well to create supportive housing," said Ky Le who is the the director of the Santa Clara County Supportive Housing Office. "It's not like we had all these sites to choose from."

Le said, the land developed by nonprofit charities housing, is for affordable housing specifically for the homeless. He said projects like this one have been effective in reducing homelessness by 14 percent in Santa Clara County, with a homeless population of 4,000 people.

"We know that affordable housing and permanent supportive housing when run well actually does not decrease property values, does not increase crime and is an asset to the community," said Le.

However, neighbors strongly disagree with the county's plan. Delbert Ng, who's bedroom is 25 feet away from the planned project, is planning to appeal.

"We agree they have to be housed somewhere but it's just these demographics incompatible with the neighborhood and infrastructure that's already placed basically for families," said Ng.

Theappeal will likely be heard at a San Jose City Council meeting next month. If the council approves it, the earliest residents could move is Fall 2018.