November 25, 2019
IN FROM THE COLD:
SUNNYVALE HOMELESS SHELTER EXPANDING, MOUNTAIN VIEW COLD WEATHER SHELTER TO REOPEN FOR THE WINTER
SAN JOSE – Homeless residents in Santa Clara County will have more places to sleep this winter, with the North County Shelter in Sunnyvale increasing its capacity and the Mountain View shelter reopening its doors for the winter season, Monday, December 2.
“We can never do enough. I know that,” said Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian, “but we’ve got to keep pushing.” When Simitian returned to the Board of Supervisors in January 2013, he was disappointed to learn that the old Sunnyvale Cold Weather Shelter was slated for closure with no planned replacement.
In response, Simitian pushed for a new location, operating year-round (instead of four months a year) and an increased capacity (175 shelter beds, up from 125). Shortly thereafter, Simitian championed a new cold weather shelter in Mountain View. “It seemed clear to me that a single homeless shelter in the North County/West Valley area I represent wasn’t going to be enough. And it wasn’t. That’s why I was so thankful we could add a shelter in Mountain View,” said Simitian.
The Cold Weather Shelter Program in Mountain View, which operates through the end of March, will begin serving single women and families, starting on Monday, December 2. The program, which is in its third year of operation, will provide services for up to 50 people, including as many as 10 families.
The North County Shelter in Sunnyvale, which became ayear-round shelter program earlier this year after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Simitian’s proposal, is increasing its number of beds from 125 to 175 to meet demand. “Earlier surveys have shown us that the homeless count is up in the North County, and the 98% level of use at the existing shelter in Sunnyvale shows there’s demand,” said Simitian
Both programs will be operated by HomeFirst, a non-profit agency with 30 years of experience operating winter shelters. “We’re happy to continue to provide accommodations and support services in Mountain View and Sunnyvale. As homelessness continues to increase in the County, these shelters are vital to the health of the community,” said Andrea Urton, CEO of HomeFirst.
Other collaborating agencies include: Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos, Hope’s Corner, Los Altos United Methodist Church, the County Office of Supportive Housing and West Valley Community Services. Simitian said, “It’s been heartening to see folks pull together to get this done. Working in partnership we can do so much more.”
As the Mountain View Shelter prepares to open for its third year, Simitian said he’s heartened by the community response. “Even though the Mountain View Shelter is immediately adjacent to a residential neighborhood, it was approved and has been operating with no opposition from local residents. Simitian credits a, “caring community and a can-do city government” with facilitating the County’s efforts.
For those interested in helping, volunteering to serve a meal at a shelter is a popular way to help. Volunteers can prepare a meal off-site or have one catered in. Learn more and sign up at: www.homefirstscc.org/volunteer