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SILIC ON VALLEYIM PR ESSION S . C O M

some ways, that’s what drives Silicon Valley too, so it’s a balancing act. SVI: Measure A gives $950 million for affordable housing. What is the status? Ash: It will take some time because we need to build some long term transitional housing. Transitional housing means very short term housing for people but they are actually housing facilities that can be used permanently. The money from Measure A is going to go towards building transitional housing which is expensive to do anywhere, especially here. Transitional housing means that we don’t just give someone a roof over the head but we do recognize that people who are chronically homeless, may have mental health issues, or drug and alcohol issues need housing first. They may need job training. They may have kids that needed to be taken care of. It’s not realistic to tell them to get a job first, to clean up their act first or deal with their mental health issues first then we’ll get you a place to live. That doesn’t make sense. Transitional housing policy is housing first. Transitional housing will provide a shelter, a safe place with wraparound services. Transitional housing will include social services to help them, medical services to heal them, and a stable ground under their feet that ensures they can transition out of the homeless situation. Eventually they will become employed and become tax payers that are contributing to our community. Once one group leaves the transitional housing, the next group will come and go through the same process of healing and rebuilding. It is an evolving door. This is an effective way to get people off the

streets. We cannot just sweep away encampments, or open up more shelters, but provide a long term opportunity. Measure A is a big part of that. SVI: When you say transition, how long is it? I also made a calculation, the 5,000 housing unit that Measure A is building costs $19,000 per unit. Ash: There will be different types of programs. But for us, it is usually six months to a year, where you like to try to transition them to permanent housing somewhere. But again, it depends on the individual and it depends on the type of program. You don’t want to rush out someone who is not ready. But if someone is ready, you want to create an empty space, for someone who is waiting for the opportunity. We have thousands of homeless people. These kinds of transitional programs aren’t designed for long term. It’s not going to be an ‘apples-to-apples’ where, “Okay, we’re going to build 5,000 units for-- or 6,000 units for the exact number of homeless, rather it’s a way of transitioning those that are currently homeless to permanent housing. There won’t be space for every single person to be in a transitional situation but it’s about the long term, moving people through this transitional environment to get them permanent housings, so they no longer need the services provided in transitional housing. The cost for a transitional unit

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is actually more than $19,000 because you’re bringing in social services too but it’s much cheaper than having homeless people in the community where it depletes our resources such as our fire department responding to emergencies or our police forces having to deal with the everyday problems of the homeless population. There are many side effects of having a large number of people on the streets. It costs tax payers’ money and for the homeless person, the cost is even higher in terms of human capital and lost opportunities. SVI: Measure A addresses the services and housing? Ash: Yes. This transitional housing is supportive. It will include social services too. The county has these social services but they have to know where to deliver them. If someone who is homeless and wanders around, we cannot reach him/her. Once you build a transitional housing complex and you have supportive housing there, then they can stay in one place for many months and get the help they need, get the job training they need, and start to find work and

Oak Grove Apartments is a new affordable housing community located in San Jose, California. This five- story apartment building will offer 134 affordable multifamily apartments. Photo Source: Roemcorp.com 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

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...