gmhTODAY 09 gmhToday July Aug 2016 - Page 32

Santa Clara Valley Water District: Dealing with Creekside Encampments The Santa Clara Valley Water District has also stepped up to acknowledge the crisis of homelessness and to work with other key stakeholders on the issue. As a steward of precious local water resources, the water district works to protect creeks and other waterways from trash and debris, maintain fences, and preserve banks and trees. Creekside homeless encampments are deemed both unsafe and illegal. Water district officials are working with city and county agencies to find solutions. In May, the water district held an ad hoc meeting open to the public to discuss the homeless encampments. During the three-hour meeting, water district board members heard from subject matter experts and concerned citizens regarding requests from several groups to make vacant district rental properties available to unsheltered individuals and families with County housing vouchers. Expect to hear more on this in the coming weeks and months. Bringing Our Veterans “All the Way Home” On Veteran’s Day in 2015, County Board President Dave Cortese and Mayor Sam Liccardo announced and launched All the Way Home, a campaign to provide housing or shelter for the County’s more than 700 homeless veterans, by the end of 2016. The City of San Jose, the County of Santa Clara, the County Housing Authority and Destination: Home are collaborating on this campaign, inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2015 Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, in partnership with the Veteran’s Administration and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The campaign is working with landlords and apartment owners to increase access to rental units for homeless veterans and their families. Outreach will also be made to corporations and faith-based groups to aid with land acquisition, housing development, access to rental units, financial assistance and services. A high percentage of our homeless veterans are unsheltered and suffer health conditions that make it difficult to break the cycle of homelessness. Source: Santa Clara County Point-In-Time Census and Survey Comprehensive Report 2015. Provided by Destination: Home. “I read a quote recently…  ‘We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve’ . . . the challenge is enormous and the need is heart-breaking. Providing permanent housing for more than 6,000 men, women and children in Santa Clara County may sometimes seem impossible.  But we are making progress and will continue to do so until no one in Santa Clara County has to sleep outside.  — Dave Cortese, President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, 2016 State of the County Address 32 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY / AUGUST 2016