San Jose Mayor Liccardo in a race to get ahead of homelessness

It's been one year since we sat down with Bay Area leaders working to solve the crisis. One year later, we wanted to see what, if any, progress has been made. 

We met with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to see how the efforts to solve the riddle of homelessness are progressing.

"Well, the problem certainly hasn't gotten better. We recognize we have a huge challenge right now. Over 2017 we track how many homeless individuals we house, and we housed over 1,350. In that period of time, it appears more people are getting pushed out," said Liccardo. 

With some of the roughly 4,300 homeless residents in San Jose, Liccardo said the city is using a multi-faceted approach to combat the growing problem.

The city spends 10-million annually, contracting with San Jose-based non-profits to provide things such as showers, meals, and temporary shelters. It includes outreach for those living on the streets and in tents under freeway overpasses. 

"The reality is we know that shelters are not places that a lot of homeless want to go," Liccardo said. "Some are concerned because their very few possessions may be stolen. They may be concerned about rules concerning sobriety, whether you can bring a pet with you. Many other things that are important to them."

Ultimately, Liccardo said satiating the high housing demand in this city is the cornerstone in what he calls a race to get ahead of homelessness. 

He's set a goal of constructing 25,000 new housing units over the next five years, and reduced red tape to make it happen. Also, alternate forms of housing such as so-called tiny homes and micro housing.

Liccardo has placed the largest housing bond in the Western U.S. on the November ballot.

Measure V would generate $450 million for the construction of housing. On Tuesday the city council was expected to determine how-- assuming the bond passes -- that money will be divided, between extremely low income, low income, and what's called the forgotten middle - people earning between $95,000 and $150,000.

"If we're able to get this ballot measure passed that will enable us to have the dollars we need to build transitional housing and many of the immediate housing solutions we critically need, I think there'll be a significant improvement within a year," said Liccardo. 

If the bond measure does not pass, Liccardo warns the chronic problem of homelessness will linger longer and may get worse before it gets better.