Establishing homeless shelters in Palo Alto, Richmond

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian at a tiny house construction site in Palo Alto on October 31. (Joe Simitian’s office)

Two new homeless shelters are being built in the Bay Area — a Ready Project in Palo Alto for more than 200 people and a tiny home village in Richmond for more than a dozen youth.

At a groundbreaking ceremony for the Palo Alto site this week, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian praised the project planned near Baylands at 1237 San Antonio Road as a critical step toward bringing more of the county’s roughly 10,000 homeless residents into their homes. .

“We know that temporary shelter is only part of the solution, but we cannot allow people to remain on our streets while they wait for permanent housing,” Simitian said in a statement.

Officials said the facility, which includes 88 “modular” units resembling shipping containers, is expected to open by early 2025. The project’s cost is estimated at about $37 million, with $22 million coming from California’s $3.75 billion Homekey homeless housing program.

The rest of the money is provided by the city, county and private sources, including $5 million from billionaire developer and Silicon Valley philanthropist John A. Sobrato. The Sobrato Foundation has also committed $5 million to build a 204-unit shelter also under construction at Branham Lane and Monterey Road in San Jose.

South Bay non-profit organization Life Moves will operate the site, providing supportive services with the goal of transitioning residents into permanent housing. Shelter residents, including families, will be able to stay for three to six months.

But with a severe shortage of affordable housing in the area, finding permanent homes for residents is likely to be an ongoing challenge. In Santa Clara County, only about four in 10 people staying in various shelter programs move into permanent housing, according to federal data.

In Richmond, about 13 tiny homes for homeless youth ages 18 to 24 are scheduled to open in the fall of 2024 at 175 23rd Street off Carlson Boulevard.

As many as 125 young people in the city go without a roof over their heads each night, according to Tiny Village Spirit, an offshoot of a small East Bay nonprofit leading the project. Homeless youth can stay in the planned tiny homes for up to two years and will be offered case management services to help them find permanent housing.

A team of University of San Francisco students is designing the tiny homes, which will be built by volunteers and decorated by community artists.

The shelter site will cost about $1 million to build, with most of the funding coming from private and faith-based donors, as well as a grant from Contra Costa County.

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