Of San Jose’s 5,000 or so homeless residents, nearly 30 percent are chronically on the streets, according to city housing officials. Most of the chronically homeless suffer from mental illness, physical disability, addiction or some combination of the three.

On Wednesday, the San Jose’s Rules and Open Government Committee will discuss legislation that could address such problems.

California spends half its Medi-Cal funds on only 4 percent of beneficiaries, according to the Corporation for Supportive Housing. That 4 percent needs intensive treatment for social, mental, medical and substance abuse problems, the severity often leaving these people incurable.

City Housing director Leslye Corsiglia recommends San Jose’s elected officials vote to support a state Assembly bill that would offer comprehensive support for the chronically homeless. The “Health Home” bill, AB 361, introduced by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City), would finance stable shelter and mental health services for those prone to homelessness.

The bill proposes tapping into President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to fund 90 percent of intensive in-home health services. Private health foundation California Endowment actually offered to pay the state’s 10-percent share of the cost for the first two years.
http://www.calendow.org/

“People who frequently use hospitals for reasons that could have been avoided incur disproportionate resources; about 1,000 accumulate Medi-Cal costs of over $100,000 in a year,” according to a fact sheet published by the housing corporation.

And yet, medical homes can’t fully address the problems—like social isolation and homelessness—that send this population to the hospital in the first place. A homeless person often can’t get enough rest, eat well, store medications or attend appointments.

“Two-thirds of frequent users have both medical and behavioral health conditions,” the fact sheet continues. “Most are homeless and will die, on average, 30 years younger than average.”

San Jose has a vested interest in helping this portion of the local homeless population, because it takes public resources to deal with these people. Homeless encampments have cropped up in recent years that garnered national attention, setting in focus the growing and glaring divide between rich and poor in Silicon Valley.

If AB 361 becomes law, it would draw in cash for the local Housing 1000 Campaign, an effort through Santa Clara County to provide a home for 1,000 of the county’s most vulnerable homeless.

Corsiglia writes in a memo to the Rules committee that the bill would help provide a more coordinated focus for existing South Bay programs.

“Currently, health care services to homeless individuals are typically not coordinated with the other services they need to address their ongoing mental health and medical needs, and homeless situation,” the memo says. “As long as they remain un-housed, homeless individuals, and especially chronically homeless individuals, will continue using expensive medical services that could have been avoided if they had been able to obtain sufficient rest, follow a healthy diet, store medications, or regularly attend appointments. Conversely, chronic health conditions often contribute to an individual’s homeless situation by preventing them from accessing the income, services, and assistance they need to become permanently housed.”

Click here to read the entire text of AB 361, which makes its way to the Assembly floor for a vote on May 31.

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for May 8, 2013:

Corsiglia signed her name in support of another housing bill, which she’s asking for elected officials to endorse, too. AB 532, the California Homes and Jobs Act penned by Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), would re-allocate existing affordable housing funds to help build more low-income homes.

If it passes, the bill would send some money to Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which has provided $7 million in loans for 23 affordable developments and more than 1,300 individual homebuyer loans.

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Published by Jennifer Wadsworth

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to jenniferw@metronews.com or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

11 replies on “Rules to Discuss Legislation Targeting Chronic Homeless”

  1. We need to support AB 532, the California Homes and Jobs Act. For real. I don’t mind paying taxes at all if my money is going towards good, meaningful things. It’s when I’m paying taxes and in our greater community we have over 5,000 people that are homeless, and likely don’t have access to health care alongside millions of other Americans, and when college is out of so many people’s reach and many people can’t even get a decent grade school education, and when the government is subsidizing the production of garbage “food” and making healthy food more expensive… oh, and the money we could be using to do those things is instead being used to kill civilians in foreign lands… that’s when I get pissed off. That’s why I’m always so pissed off

    1. Chronic homelessness in San Jose has become nothing but a jobs program. I encourage anyone, maybe even SJinside to conduct a thorough audit on how many positions agencies have added and their lofty program creations against the San Jose Homeless Strategic Plan and the Santa Clara County Keys to Homeless Plan and you will find no one has met their requirements to house homeless for a decade. We’ve heard the catchy phrases and added more jobs in the homeless industry in Santa Clara County than there are homeless on the street. There isn’t even consensus amongst homeless providers on homeless counts. I sure know of one group that will be contacting media; state and federal officials to encourage an independent state and federal audit to review OUTCOMES against revenue received over 10 years. It’s time we stop wasting money on phantom services, hold all agencies accountable to proven and documented outcomes, and consider releasing funding based only on those that have been housed not potentially housed. Read this carefully because these groups are so predictable that the next line of funding requests will be for coordinated services. And wait to they tell you about the wonderful outcomes of coordinated services have to offer.

    2. > oh, and the money we could be using to do those things is instead being used to kill civilians in foreign lands… that’s when I get pissed off. That’s why I’m always so pissed off

      Calm down, gómez.  Obama WANTS those civilians in foreign lands killed.

      “Afghanistan is a war of necessity”.

      Also, the crony capitalists at Solyndra NEED that money, as do the High Speed Rail grifters.

      Not to mention the global warming grifters.  Do you expect them to hitch-hike to Bali and Copenhagen and eat fast food.  THEY’RE SAVING THE GODDAMN PLANT!

      THE WHOLE ENTIRE GODDAMN PLANET while your homeless slugs are just sprawled on the pavement causing aroma pollution and exhaling carbon dioxide.

      Homeless slugs do not NEED pavement to sprawl on.  They could sprawl on dirt.

      I was accosted by a pair of white trust fund children at the entrance to a large, well known corporate food chain that sells expensive, organically grown foods to Yuppies who provide their own recyclable grocery bags. 

      The white trust fund children did not mention “homelessness” as being an urgent problem.

      Instead, they urged me and others to “do something” about “frakking”. 

      So, in the spirit of saving the environment, could you urge your homeless slugs to stop exhaling carbon dioxide and to STOP SUPPORTING FRAKKING so the white trust fund children can feel like they “mattered”.

      1. At first I thought this was your standard ugly knucklehead response- on the homeless issue. Except with rambling Lou’ in the end you don’t really know what the hell he’s talking about.

        1. > At first I thought this was your standard ugly knucklehead response- on the homeless issue. Except with rambling Lou’ in the end you don’t really know what the hell he’s talking about.

          gómez:

          That’s the nicest think you’ve ever said about me.

          Of course, it’s a pretty low bar.

  2. After reading this, I feel like we living in a Fellini movie.

    All of these things are not going to make things better.  They keep getting worse, and our ability to pay for it all keeps diminishing.

  3. SF spends hundreds of millions on their chronic homeless. Nothing changes other than the money flows into the pockets of those so-called charities and other service providers who benefit by not fixing the problem. San Jose has gone down this path before about 20 years ago. Nothing changed then and nothing will change now.

    Get the mentally ill off the streets. Put them back in mental health hospitals where they will receive treatment and avoid the fecal covered squalor they current live in. This will no doubt offend those ACLU types who would rather see a mentally ill person exposed to vermin, hepatitis, TB, drugs, alcohol, etc because the would be “free”. They will drag out the old tired canard of “warehousing the mentally ill”, despite wholesale changes in treatment and the law in the past 40 years.

    The rest of the homeless are those who choose to avoid the societal rules of decent conduct. Enforce the law and get them to either leave San Jose or seek the multitude of programs already available to them.

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