Homeless Seek Refuge in Local Shelters as Cold Weather Settles In

Service providers say more than 7,000 people countywide find themselves homeless on any given night.

With winter here and the weather getting colder, thousands of homeless people are seeking shelter at three locations in Santa Clara County.

Tthe Silicon Valley nonprofit EHC LifeBuilders began operating its Cold Weather Shelter Program Nov. 26, which will be in effect through March.

Under the annual program, which has been in place for two decades, shelters providing nightly emergency beds are opening at the Boccardo Reception Center in San Jose and at the National Guard armories in Gilroy and Sunnyvale.

EHC representatives said the program serves about 2,800 people each year, with a portion of the beds reserved for veterans and people who have been living in homeless encampments.

This year, EHC is implementing a new strategy to help keep homeless people off of the streets by reserving 200 beds nightly for those enrolled in programs at the Boccardo Reception Center, geared toward setting people up with employment and permanent housing.

"The Cold Weather Program provides life-saving shelter to thousands during the winter months and his absolutely critical," Jennifer Niklaus, CEO of EHC LifeBuilders, said in a statement.

"However, I am pleased by the change in the ratio of beds at the BRC this year because it allows our clients to more successfully gain self-sufficiency and permanent housing," she said.

"By focusing our resources on those that are most effective, we are providing a pathway for our clients to end their homelessness permanently."

Organization officials said more than 7,000 people countywide find themselves homeless on any given night.

The EHC shelters are located at the Boccardo Reception Center at 2011 Little Orchard St. in San Jose, the National Guard Armory at 8940 Wren Ave. in Gilroy, and the former National Guard Armory at 620 East Maude Ave. in Sunnyvale.

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Gary Hinze December 21, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Many of these people have jobs, some have children. They need a safe place to stay while they rebuild their lives. Build a San Jose Family Camp facility in Kelly Park or some other public land. Tent cabins, cafeteria, laundry, showers, recreation/study hall. Charge a nominal fee to offset costs. Some of them could be employed in the camp. Garbage collection eliminates the litter problem. Busses take the kids to school and the adults to work.
Esmée St James December 21, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Gary, I agree with you, these folks need a chance to get back on their feet and their kids need the routine and sense of belonging that staying in school can offer. So many people are just a paycheck away from being homeless.


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