It's Time For
Common Sense Solutions on Housing the Homeless
MATT MAHAN WILL BRING COMMON SENSE AND ACCOUNTABILITY to one of San Jose’s most pressing problems — street homelessness. His plan will focus on proven and cost-effective ways to transition people out of our streets, creeks, and parks and into shelter and treatment while requiring that homeless individuals use these services when they are available.
The first step is creating housing at a fraction of the current cost. Right now, housing for the homeless is costing over $850,000 per unit to build. Matt knows that by using pre-built modular units (the kind of tiny homes you see on TV) and placing these on government owned land like the County Fairgrounds we can create safe and individual units for as low as $85,000 per unit—or just ten percent of the current cost.
If housing is available, homeless individuals should have the responsibility to use it. This does not criminalize anyone. It simply requires people to be accountable. San Jose can and should enforce its no- camping laws when safe, individual shelter is available for homeless residents.
San Jose must do our part, but Santa Clara County and the entire state of California should do more. Matt will make sure we are taking care of San Jose’s homeless challenges without footing the bill for other cities in the Bay Area. Right now, our city is asked to shelter and treat people from other cities like Palo Alto. That’s not fair. Everyone should do their part.
According to the 2019 San Jose Homeless Census Survey:
of the chronically homeless cited job loss as their primary cause of becoming homeless.
of the non-chronically homeless cited job loss as their primary cause of becoming homeless.
Many people say homelessness is a symptom of unemployment. There is a commonsense approach to this challenge. Matt will expand programs to pay the homeless to clean up our streets so they can work their way to self- sufficiency. For each hour worked, the city can also contribute to an individual savings fund that can only be used to pay the upfront cost of renting an apartment, including the security deposit. In this way we will help our homeless neighbors work their way off the streets.
Mental health challenges keep many people on the streets (up to 42% of homeless people in San Jose suffer from mental health conditions, according to the most recent Homeless Census). Matt will demand that the County invest in the construction of inpatient drug addiction and mental health treatment facilities as part of a comprehensive approach to homelessness. If any individual is a danger to themselves or others, Matt believes we should require them to enter treatment.
SELF-REPORTED HEALTH CONDITIONS
Current health conditions that may affect the housing stability or employment of those experiencing homelessness:
Alcohol and drug use
PRIMARY EVENT LEADING TO HOMELESSNESS*
*According to respondents of the 2019 San Jose Homeless Census Survey
The least expensive way to address homelessness is to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place. Matt will prioritize helping to keep people in danger of eviction in their homes, with programs that diagnose and help solve the issues leading to a loss of a home or apartment — from job training to drug treatment to mental health care to a temporary job loss or health crisis.
A high percentage of our homelessness dollars are spent through outside service providers. Matt will ensure we review and audit these contracts regularly and tie their renewal to continually improving results.
Matt will work to create new housing where it makes sense — downtown and in very well- served transit corridors so our overall supply of housing increases. This is a long-term solution to the cost of housing. While this does not directly address street homelessness, we need to remember there are many people in danger of becoming homeless or are housing-insecure because of the high cost of housing.
And most of all, Matt will hold himself — and top staff — accountable.
Matt will make sure that if we are not reducing street homelessness every year, there will be no pay raises for politicians or top bureaucrats.
HOMELESSNESS IS ONE OF OUR TOUGHEST CHALLENGES — but it is solvable if we focus on common sense, accountability and proven solutions. If you agree, add your name and join us today!
Join us for Common Sense on Homelessness