SAN JOSE, Calif. - A new report released this week says Santa Clara County increased the number of people housed by 20% from January to June of this year. But despite those improvements, advocates say the homelessness crisis still continues to grow.
Destination Home says homelessness is at an all-time high in the South Bay and even though they are making some progress, more affordable housing and policy changes are needed to keep the people from living on the streets.
In the first six months of this year, Destination Home, an advocacy group for the homeless, says 1,852 people in Santa Clara County were placed in permanent housing. That’s a 20% increase from the previous six-month period.
"That’s almost 10 people a day, it shows the collective efforts are really working, of our partners. That’s non-profit organizations, government agencies and people every day outside, working to get people home," said Ray Bramson, Destination Home's CEO.
The data also shows that over 96% of people placed in supportive housing programs in recent years, have remained in their homes. Still, the homeless crisis worsened during the pandemic and advocates say more people are losing their housing than ever before.
"The problem is once we’ve got them housed, there’s another 20,000 people that have become unhoused. That’s the problem. We need to address it at its root. We need to address the question of affordable housing," said Sandy Perry, President of Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County.
Right now, the data shows there are 10,028 people without a home in Santa Clara County. Perry and other advocates like Pastor Scott Wagers, say policy changes and more funding will be needed if Santa Clara County intends to meet its goal of housing 20,000 people by 2025.
"The number of deaths last year was 250. So objectively, numbers don’t lie and if you look at the numbers overall, there are things to celebrate, like that increase in the number of people housed, but there are things to be concerned about," said Pastor Scott Wagers, Founder of CHAM Deliverance Ministry in San Jose.
Bramson says there are 4,000 housing units becoming available in the near future, and so far, Santa Clara County has housed 7,853 people since 2019.