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County Update With Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman Supervisor Mike Wasserman was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in November, 2010, and re-elected in 2014. He represents District 1, which includes Gilroy, San Martin, Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and portions of San Jose.( Addressing Homelessness in South County T Source: Community Plan to End Homelessness in Santa Clara County 2015-2020). he seemingly intractable issue of homelessness is a frustration for some watching it, and a sad, sometimes desperate reality for those experiencing it. Homelessness can happen to any- one: sudden loss of a job, a medical emergency, divorce or domestic vio- lence, missing a rent payment or other unexpected life experiences. And there is only one way to really solve it: housing. Homelessness doesn’t end when an encampment is cleared out or with handing out blankets. Homeless- ness ends when people have a home. In Santa Clara County, 7,500 people are without a home on any given night. Of those, 2,500 are considered chronically homeless. What we need is permanent, sustainable housing for all, and resources built to last for the long term. Along with my colleagues on the County Board of Supervisors, Destination:Home and our community partners, we are moving forward with a Community Plan to End Homelessness. We have also adopted the Housing First approach that provides homeless families and individuals with permanent housing as quickly as possible – and then provides voluntary supportive services as needed. These types of “rapid-rehousing” and prevention services have proven effective for helping people who have recently become homeless or who are at risk of homelessness. A 2015 study showed that for 100 homeless residents who were housed through the Housing 1000 program, the estimated average annual pre-housing public cost was $62,473. The estimated average post- housing cost was $19,767, a reduction of $42,706 annually. Not only is housing the right thing to do, but it saves taxpayer money. In November 2016, 67% of Santa Clara County voters approved Measure A – the $950 million afford- able housing bond. The housing bond enables the County to partner with cities, residents, and the affordable and supportive housing community to significantly address the housing needs of the community’s poorest and most vulnerable residents. It provides 5,100 affordable housing units for vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, the disabled, low and moderate income individuals or families, foster youth, victims of abuse, the homeless and GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 individuals suffering from mental health. Several housing developments in Gilroy and Morgan Hill funded by this bond are already underway. Share the South County Homeless Services guide. Hand out the South County Homeless Services guide to homeless individuals. The guide helps to connect them with food, clothing, showers, and services for substance use, mental health, suicide crisis, youth and family crisis, domestic violence and sexual assault, shelter and emergency housing. Please email to have a copy of the South County Homeless Services Guide emailed to you to print out. See it, report it. If you observe a homeless encampment or a crime taking place such as theft or drug use, residents should contact their local police department or sheriff. To report illegal encampments in or illegal dumping (garbage) in County areas, use the Santa Clara County Mobile Citizen app or the form on the Roads department website at: 65