When looking at the Silicon Valley, the rest of the world sees only billionaire entrepreneurs, overlooking the countless families on the other side of the socioeconomic spectrum who live in shelters, cars or on the streets. As victims of the Valley’s prosperity, these families struggle to keep up with rising property values. Two different organizations have taken different paths to mitigate this issue.
Silicon Valley at Home ([email protected]) works to get low-income and homeless individuals into affordable housing units with basic amenities so that they may live sustainably on their own. Through their work, the people at [email protected] have been able to house over 1000 homeless individuals over the last few years, and they are taking actions to open up homes for many more.
Funding from individual donors and companies like Google and U.S. Bank goes to the construction or acquisition of existing properties for housing. Conversion of old motels into homeless housing, leasing land to build multi-story buildings or simply adding affordable units to regular complexes are a few ways that [email protected] is trying to end the issue of homelessness.
On the other hand, Destination: Home looks to solve the issue through legislative means, pushing local government for policies to aid the homeless.
Recently, spending on affordable housing projects increased due to “Home Not Found,” a comprehensive cost study on homelessness by Destination: Home and Santa Clara County.
“[The study] showed that, overall, housing homeless individuals is less costly than providing emergency services for them living on the streets,” Destination: Home Communications and Engagement Specialist Colleen Haley said. “The more vulnerable individuals are [and] the longer they’ve been on the street, the more emergency services they require.”
In response to the study, counties in East San Jose have invested millions more into housing programs. The efforts of advocacy organizations such as Destination: Home in conjunction with housing aid organizations such as [email protected] have brought homelessness to the forefront of discussion in the Valley and will continue to better the issue in the years to come.