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S ILIC O N VA L L E Y IM PRESSIONS.COM

Interview with Santa Clara County Supervisor

Dave Cortese

Fixing the Ladder to Prosperity Photography by James Gong

SVI: The jungle was evacuated. At that time, about 300 homeless individuals lost their place to live, do you track their whereabouts? Dave Cortese: That was the most tragic thing about how the homeless situation was handled over recent years. We are at cross purposes in government services, we are not always on the same page. The County homeless service is considered to be the safety net for someone with drug and alcoholic problems or mental illness. As for housing, we have relationships with the Santa Clara County Housing Authority. The City of San Jose and other cities only have the police to help maintain order and evict people who are homeless. Nearby to the jungle, there is a creek which is considered a water way by the water company. Their S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | J u n e 2 0 1 7

main concern was water contamination. So the City was urged by the Santa Clara water district to use police force to do what we call sweeps in the Jungle. That’s what you saw in the Jungle. The County had a bus service with doctors, social workers, psychiatrist, mental health workers, and housing specialists. The homeless people were put on to the electronic computerized enrollment system and we created a medical file for any newcomers with their health and medication history. We had completed over 300 individuals’ medical files, and many of our workers knew most of these 300 homeless people. We could start the process of allocating housing for them. For the sick and mentally ill people, we all agreed that the jungle wasn’t

a good holding facility for them. Anyone who is on the way to be rehabilitated needs to be in a more secure environment, some kind of transitional village, like advanced refugee villages that some countries have created. The villages will have garbage facilities, doctors and social workers, showers, security, and schools for children. As we are in the process of building files for these people and trying to find housing for them, City of San Jose Police came along and told the people they had to leave. After the Jungle was evacuated, people scattered about, and nobody knew where they went. Now we have these beautiful files on people, but we don’t know where they are. They are nowhere to be found.

Silicon Valley Impressions Magazine summer2017  

SVI summer 2017 edition. Affordable housing issue, include interviews with Ash Kalra and Dave Cortese about Silicon Valley affordable housin...

Silicon Valley Impressions Magazine summer2017  

SVI summer 2017 edition. Affordable housing issue, include interviews with Ash Kalra and Dave Cortese about Silicon Valley affordable housin...