San Jose Hope Village, a homeless camp that moved onto state land without permission earlier this month, has been adopted as a pilot program by Santa Clara County.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to authorize a lease deal with the city of San Jose to house the encampment for the next six months on a property off of Ruff Road.
Organizers—a coalition of charities Casa de Clara Catholic Worker and Sleeping Bags for the Homeless as well as a neighborhood group called San Jose Residents—will move the platformed tents, portable toilet, fencing and lockboxes to the new site on Thursday while its original six tenants will spend the night in motels using subsidized vouchers.
Initially, Hope Village expects to accommodate 14 people at the new parcel, but the plan is to eventually expand capacity to 30.
Peter Miron-Conk, one of the Hope Village founders, spearheaded the experimental tent camp out of frustration with public agencies for failing to fund an adequate number of short-term shelters for the homeless. Unlike the illegal camps dotting local creeksides and freeway embankments, Hope Village has security, running water, a portable toilet, sanitation and privacy—each person gets his or her own tent.
“Supervisor Dave Cortese and I believe there is a need for unconventional solutions and it makes sense for us to test a highly regulated encampment like this one,” county Supervisor Cindy Chavez said in a news release Tuesday. “We wanted to offer the city of San Jose a solution and they accepted the solution last week.”
Cortese, who spent a night at a tent village in Portland last year, has asked the county Office of Supportive Housing to negotiate a $1-a-month lease for the city-owned land.
“We want to work with Hope Village so it becomes a model of temporary housing to be replicated throughout the County,” Cortese said. “While we are focused on permanent affordable housing projects made possible by voter-approved Measure A Housing Bond, we must do more for those who remain unsheltered while housing is built.”