gmhTODAY 09 gmhToday July Aug 2016 - Page 28

“Most everyone wants to be a good neighbor but NIMBY is a challenge. I just encourage people to come by the Compassion Center and be surprised at the conduct of the people who are served there. Cumbersome zoning and land use issues are another challenge.” “Tiny homes is a new concept, but developments are being done in a variety of places in the U.S. “We need to sit down with city and county representatives to create a program that will work,” John said. I will be part of that process. I view this as a public-private partnership. We will look to the community to help us get this done. We’ve got architects, engineers, and other professionals on our team, working together, bringing new ideas like LED lighting, solar systems and other options. We’re building a lot of efficiency into the design. It also becomes a training opportunity for the homeless who are able to participate in building, costing, project management, and other project tasks. The county gave us a contract to build a prototype and we did. It’s not just the building of a village, but the governance of it, with policies in place and participation from the residents and their service providers.” Help the Homeless To those inspired to help, Jan Chargin offered a few suggestions. Join a committee, a board or a task force. The South County homeless outreach task force meets the second Friday of every month at the Gilroy Police Department at 10:15 am. Ask your company if it supports community service projects or sponsors non-profit initiatives. Your human resources department might post job openings at homeless shelters or with other advocacy groups. Business owners can offer free or low-cost business services for anything from car repair to resume writing or even a haircut. Healthcare providers can donate free services. housing for groups with special needs, and to maintain a range of housing types that are served by transit, recreational amenities, shopping, and health and personal services. City staffer Rebecca Garcia confirmed that construction of 41 new affordable housing units is slated to begin at three separate Morgan Hill locations this coming December or January, and these units will remain classified ‘affordable’ for 55 years. Rebecca is Housing Manager in the Community Development Department of the City of Morgan Hill. “Morgan Hill sets aside a portion of units in every new affordable housing project for special needs populations; in this case, 6 of the 41 new units will be dedicated to foster transitional age use. Specifically, youth aged 18 or older who have aged out of the foster system and have been identified by the County’s Office of Supportive Housing as part of a city- county partnership effort.” “When we identify affordable housing opportunities, a comprehensive decision is required. Things such as proximity to public transportation and other community resources are taken into consideration. We will connect these youth with Work2Future, the faith-based community, and social services including a case manager. They will be required to pay a percentage of their income towards the monthly rent.” Rebecca explained that Morgan Hill has an inventory of 500 affordable homes. “Affordability” includes different levels based on a measure known as ‘area median income’ that is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She added that housing developers can receive points by committing to create affordable rental or ownership units as part of their projects, and that presently, some developers have committed to provide rental units. “Our affordable housing program, EAH Housing, is about 40 years old,” Rebecca said. Morgan Hill’s Bella Terra Apartments, an EAH Housing development, was referenced by Ky Le and Jennifer Loving as a good example of an affordable housing development that has provided stable affordable housing for a number of former chronically homeless seniors. Talk to local non-profits. Many organize collection and delivery of donated food, clothing, toiletries, diapers, water bottles, blankets, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, flashlights and batteries, ‘lifeline’ cell phones, bicycles, and gift cards for food or gas. Santa Clara County Supervisors: Local churches including New Hope, Morgan Hill Bible Church, South Valley Community Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal and many, many others contribute regularly through programs and donations of food and other items. In his 2016 State of the County address, Santa Clara County Supervisor and Board President Dave Cortese said that in 2015 a board-appointed Housing Task Force had assessed the County’s opportunity to contribute to the region’s emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent housing solutions, and provided recommendations. Leveraging the work of Destination: Home, the County’s Office of Supportive Housing and staff of other departments, non-profit partners, and community members, they developed the Community Plan to End Homelessness, as well as a groundbreaking Homelessness Cost Study called for by County Supervisor Mike Wasserman. As part of these efforts, the Task Force listened to hours of testimony from homeless men and women and their advocates. The Board has since approved $36 million toward funding City of Morgan Hill: Housing Youth and Seniors According to reports published by the City of Morgan Hill, the focus of the Community Plan to End Homelessness on developing 6,000 housing opportunities for the homeless aligns with the City’s Housing Element goals to provide adequate 28 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Commitment to End Homelessness JULY / AUGUST 2016 gmhtoday.com