The County of Santa Clara

Board Referral

Direct Administration to extend Sunnyvale Shelter operations between April 15 and October 15 of 2018 on a pilot basis; and to report back to the Board by the end of 2018 on the results of this pilot and with information on the costs and programmatic changes necessary to turn the current cold weather shelter in Sunnyvale into a year-round emergency shelter. As part of this effort, the Administration shall contact local stakeholders (including but not limited to the City of Sunnyvale, Shelter neighbors, Shelter clients, the Shelter contractor, referring entities and other relevant non-profits) for their input. (Simitian/Cortese)


Department:Supervisor S. Joseph Simitian (Supervisorial District Five)Sponsors:
Category:Board Referral



We have been advised by County staff that the current six-month budget for the shelter is $1.15 million.



Over the past year or two, people in the community have been questioning why there is not a year-round homeless shelter in the County outside of San Jose. While we weren’t anticipating the residents of the Sunnyvale Shelter attending the February 2nd Board of Supervisor’s meeting, they did a good job of putting forth many compelling reasons for considering year-round operations in Sunnyvale.


The number of homeless in the most recent survey shows the homeless count is up in the North County, and the high utilization of the existing shelter in Sunnyvale shows there is demand.


There are a number of families who use the shelter; and there is particular interest in providing some stability to the families who have been using the shelter, particularly if it results in minimizing school disruptions for the children.


Another disruption that will be avoided if the shelter is open year-round is the simple fact that when the shelter closes people are back in the community looking for places to safely shelter overnight. Sometimes this means sleeping in a storefront, sometimes it means sleeping in a car, sometimes it means sleeping in an encampment. Inevitably, these makeshift arrangements lead to negative impacts for the homeless, the broader community and the environment.


At Sunnyvale, we’ve tried through the referral model of shelter to provide a stabilizing force for the homeless. We’ve supplemented with some modest case management services and have had some success in getting people out of emergency shelter and into housing.


Keeping the shelter open year-round will likely require some adjustments to the model in place (for example, should there be a maximum length of time people are allowed to stay?), and there could be long-term capital implications for the facility. Hence, it makes sense to approach this first as a pilot, which we can implement this year, and use what we learn between April 15th and October 15th to make a decision about whether it makes sense to continue a permanent year-round shelter in Sunnyvale in late 2018 or early 2019.



For more than 20 years emergency cold weather shelter services were provided at the Sunnyvale Armory (located in District Three). Each year there were approximately 125 shelter beds contracted for on a nightly basis, from the first Monday after Thanksgiving through the last day in March. This was the main emergency cold weather shelter for Northern Santa Clara County.


In 2014 the Sunnyvale Armory was torn down and replaced with two affordable housing projects that together provide 47 units of permanent supportive housing. While those units were a welcome addition to our housing supply, they did not eliminate the continuing need for access to emergency shelter in Northern Santa Clara County.


In the 2014-15 cold weather season, the County cobbled together a series of stopgap measures to ensure there were emergency shelter services for North County homeless, including things like expanding capacity at Project WeHOPE in East Palo Alto (San Mateo County) and providing hotel vouchers.


In the 2015-16 cold weather season a modular unit was placed on a piece of land provided by the City of Sunnyvale, and it accommodated 125 people for that season.


For the past two years, the 2016-17 and 2017-18 cold weather season, the County has provided emergency cold weather shelter for the homeless out of a building it purchased at 999 Hamlin Court in Sunnyvale (located in District Three). In 2016-17 the maximum capacity at the shelter was 125 people and the shelter was scheduled to be open from the Monday after Thanksgiving until the last day in March, but in fact was open until April 15th, the end of the cold weather season as defined in agreements with the State for use of an armory as a shelter (notwithstanding the fact that the Sunnyvale Shelter is not an armory property).


In the current cold weather season, the Board of Supervisors approved expanding the capacity of the Sunnyvale shelter by up to 50 (currently there are additional 15 people using the shelter pending physical modifications to the space) and extending the season to the maximum as defined in agreements with the State for use of an armory as a shelter, that is from October 15 – April 15. The extension was also approved for the Gilroy shelter which is, in fact, located within an armory.

Meeting History

Mar 20, 2018 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Twenty-three individuals addressed the Board.

MOVER:S. Joseph Simitian, President
SECONDER:Dave Cortese, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian


Mar 20, 2018 9:30 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoBoard of SupervisorsRegular Meeting

11:00 AMClients are moving towards some type of temporary supportive housing on a permanent basis. We are of course looking at strategic plan if you are well-aware, and part of that plan is to look at the homeless programs, activities, and involvement in not only permanent supportive housing, but housing in general. We anticipate at the next health and hospital community to provide you further information or strategies in our efforts that are under way. Supv yeager: thank you, I look forward to that report. Supv simitian: thank you very much. If we could ask - - supervisor wasserman, do you have remaining comments on this item? Supv wasserman: I just wanted to thanker paul and your staff involved for bringing this report to us. The sliding scale, the sliding fee discount program, et cetera, the analysis and information that you've given us. Thank you very much.
Thank you. supv simitian: all members having voted then let me ask t clerk to please tally the vote.

11:01 AMIt passes 5-0. For the record, those are the motion is to approve the recommendations actions as contained in our packet. Takes us to item number 9, let me see how many speakers we anticipate here. Colleagues, the next item is. . . We have 22 cards. Your thoughts about timing here? Supv chavez: I have a process question. Supv simitian: yes. Supv chavez: my process question is does it make sense to have action for people to know what being discussed and then people can make decisions? Supv simitian: I think that would be helpful. If we could ask for quiet ine chamber, please. Here's what we're going to do i'm going to take a few more cards that will give us 25 and more or less i'm going to introduce the item. I'm going to make a motion to approve the item. I'm going to ask for a seco from supervisor cortese who is kind enough to ask the supervisors to give a brief indication of their disposition towards the item, is support o propose, and with that understanding i'm going to go t the public and ask if you wd like to speak. I think it might inform public comment if there was some sense of where the board was on this item. Don't want to deter anyone who wants to peek, on the other hand, sometimes helpful to ha a representative stand up and speak, and simply ask those in support or opposition to stand with them. So bear with us here for just few moments. Item number 9, Dr. Smith, this is a referral so I assume that you have no one to present on this item and I can just introduce this item?
11:03 AMCorrect. supv simitian: let me ask the clerk to please post the voting panel on our screens. I'm going to move the recommended action which is on the first page of the referral of packet page 33. The recommended action is to extend the sunny vale shelter operations an additional six months from April 15 of this year to October 15 on a pilot basis, and then to report back to our board on the end of 28 on the results of the pilot and with information on the cost and program changes necessary to turn the current cold weather shelter into a year-round emergency shelter. The administration would be directed to contact local stake holders which would include but not be limitedded to the city of sunny vale, the shelter neighbor, clients, contractor, referring entities and other relative non-profits for their input. That is my motion, I have a second from supervisor cortese, and again my thanks to him for 89 me in this recommendation. And colleagues, at the risk of stating the obvious, homelessness is not going to end on April 15.
11:04 AMAmen. supv simitian: that of course is the date that the shelter would other wise be scheduled to close. I want to be clear about the fact that a shelter operation in my view is not a substitute for the larger challenge of providing real and permanent housing solutions for folks in this valley. But until that day comes, I think a shelter of this sort is going to be essential. I have structured this with I supervisor cortese as a pilot the theory that we will learn little something about what it takes to go year-round with this operation. Also, with the notion in mind that is reflected in the motion that we should be reaching out to interested parties over the course of the next few months to see what a permanent year-round shelter would look like. But fully informed by the interactions that have been set forth here. So i'm going to stop there, turn to supervisor cortese, and then see if board colleagues have comments or are prepared to share their initial thinking before we can for members of the public to come forward. Supv cortese: of course I was happy to participate in the referral itself as well as making the second to your moti here today. The history of this goes b 2014/2015 when we were at risk of not having a shelter for the north counties at all. Thank you for your leadership and drawing attention to that in trying to find a location for something good to happen. That location actually ended up in my district. We split sunny vale almost exactly in half between district 3 and district 5. It's a cold weather shelter that has served that entire area, t just one city or one particular neighborhood of course. What we've heard over and over again, including in this chambers, is that the model that has taken root there has been extremely successful and well-received. While we do struggle in getting people from transitional housing to apartments with support to them, this is demonstrated itself to be an extremely good model even though it was intended to be a seasonal and cold weather shelter. It happens to run its course other wise in between our budg cycles, and I think that created the dilemma of needing to bri a referral forward so we don't have a temporary sunsetting of a facility when it's so needed. So thank you for your primary authorship, president is simitian, and i'm happy to support this going forward. I know the constituents that contacted my office probably did not have a very high risk of failure and we would appreciate e-mails and other correspondents in lieu of public comment, but welcome if you're here. Supv simitian: supervisor chavez. Supv chavez: I think this is very exciting and i'm looking forward to supporting the. Supv simitian: supervisor yeager? Supv yeager: I appreciate the work that you both have put io this and very happy to support it. Supv simitian: supervisor wasserman. Supv wasserman: thank thank you, my appreciation as well. I'll be supporting it as well. I understand you had 27 spear cards. The individuals here I think are understanding what's happening, but if they wash to speak they may, but if they don't wish t speak they don't need to. Thank you. Supv simitian: right again. What i'm going to do, colleagues, is this. I'm going to turn now to the members of the public and say thank you again for being here. I'm going to use the chair's prerogative to limit testimony to one minute per person rather than two and as you heard, we have an indication from five members of the board of supervisors that they are supportive. If you would like to speak, please do. Cheese are your chambers chambers you're welcome here. That being said, if you're prepared to take yes for an answer you might simply want to stand and show your support when the time comes. Apparently the time has come. So let me - - let me just ask, and if you would like to say pass then when I say your name say pass out loud and we'll go on to the next person and thank you for understanding that we're trying to squeeze a lot of good work into a single day here. First up is mayor hendrix, the mayor of sunny vale, he will come back up there he is. Moving vigorously. Thank you.
11:09 AMIn the interest of time if I could be asked to finish - - hello, Mr. President, supervisors my name is glen - - I want to thank the board of supervisors for taking a look at investing more dollars into the north county cold weather emergency shelter in sunny vale. I think the weather outside today is an appropriate day to look at this. The emergency shelter - - . The shelter is an asset to our community. If the shelter duration is to be expanded we request a few things to be looked at. Extend the case management support. It is our understanding that the community services is a primary referral for people getting into the shelter. That means they do the intake, and then case management. The city of sun sunnyvale to asst with this work. Assistance with case management is needed. There have been challenges at the sunnyvale library. Paying for a guard and we're no longer having those same challenges. [ beep ]
11:10 AMCould I finish? supv simitian: let me ask you to do this, if you could just mention sort of bullet points other matters you want to put on the record and then we'll hand your communication over to the clerk as a written communication.
My real issue is in parallel with the six-month extension look at the long-term direction for the emergency shelter. We appear to have been going through incrementalism. It's important for us to continue to help people, but let's put a plan in place a stop the incrementallization that's going on and start a long-term strategy. Thank you very much for steppg up and helping all the residents in the county here. Supv simitian: roger grim. To be followed by russ, council y el member, to be followed by kevin norman, to be followed by mike.
11:17 AMI want to thank the board supervisors for keeping this going at all times. I'm a mother, a nurse, an entrepreneur, a sister, a co-worker. I believe in with a strong foundation with strong body sound mind leads to happiness. Thank you. Supv simitian: thank you for being with us. Nicole, then art, then dennis, and then steven fernandez, and then I believe it's donnie green.
11:18 AMMy name's nicole y live wi my 10 year old daughter and we became homeless after the came in and took all of my money we have no place to go after this. Supv simitian: thank you for being with us and sharing your circumstances. Art, dennis, steven fernandez.
Good morning, board members. I just wanted to thank you for what you're going to be doing today. Thank you for all the service that you provide. I wasn't planning on it but to invoke a former teacher of mi from bellarmines, father stout. Thank you very much. Supv simitian: thank you once again. Steven fernandez to be followed by donnie green and maria hernandez.
11:19 AMI would normally pass because of what's the voting going on, however, I just want to stress that since i've been part of t shelter for the past two years it's been a tremendous help in getting me back into the swing of things so I have a pae job as a crossing guard hen sunyvale and hope to become full time soon. Thank you. Supv simitian: thank you. All right, that takes us to donnie green, maria hernandez and then I believe the next person is vernucia.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity. I also want to thank san jose pd who found my practices some old, unhealthy behavior. They did not take me where I honestly feel and know I should have been which is the county jail. They gave me the opportunity to show my appreciation for said opportunity by not taking my butt to yale and releasing me. Next day, a young lady while I was sleeping she said I need for you to stand up. I hadn't slept since that d so i'm here today thanking you once again, to say that you ae in support of that for those o are on the fence, I encourage you to support individuals like myself who are employable, and who take responsibility for their actions today. Um, all we need is some type f sustainable housing. That's what that shelter provides for me today. A place where I can be safe ad learn to empower myself and other individuals. Vern once again, sustainable housing - - thank you for that and everybody to be empowered. Supv simitian: thank you. Maria hernandez to be followed by vurnucia, to be followed by roberto, mila, then vera sloan.
11:20 AMBefore I start I kind of appalled that this is the united states of america, hundreds of thousands of people have died we have the liberty to come and clap in support of people and I wasn't a crime to be supporting people I find it really reprehensible that you as elected officials - - this is a slap in the face of all the people who are fighting and dying so that we have those rights so please consider your attitude when it comes to that. In regards to the shelter in the words of - - the test of the government is how the government treats those who are in the - - children, the elder, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. Thank you so much today for doing something really great for those people that really needs help and support. Supv simitian: thank you. And that takes us to vurnucia, - - .
11:22 AMI'm vera sloan but there was no one else in line. I think i've been here before and shared with all of you my reasons for supporting the sunnyvale shelter. What I do want to say in ter of process for the future where we don't know all the answers t our critical problem of homelessness. I think in this situation we al as a housed community, all of s who are housed received a re gift which was that the unho people in these situations spoke up for their own needs. They provided expertise in this area - - no matter how much formal education we have, we can't offer the expertise of having lived it. I think one of the reasons we have such a great solution before us is because of these people coming forward and organizing and speaking for their own needs. I really appreciate deeply all of you hearing them and taking action. Thank you. Supv simitian: thank you. And vernucia. Not here. Roberto. Here. Mila? Please come forward.
11:23 AMGood morning board of supervisors, I come with my family from our sunnyvale shelter. I want to thank you guys for everything that you've done for the shelter. Because of you there are fami that May transition from the shelters to home. There are singles who found home and work because of your help, helping the staff, in our shelter. We need that continued support. We need that. Please keep them open, please keep us open. There's people who still need time. They need time, we need case workers to help them for the empowerment, finding recovery, there are so many things in one minute can't demonstrate - - - sitting with us and it's been very amazing and what you're doing is awesome. We need you. Please don't give up on us. Please don't give up on what's happening here. Supv simitian: thank you very much for being with us today. That takes us to marie bernard who will be followed by sean, who will be followed by, I believe, it's jenny - - .
11:24 AMGood morning, supervisors, and president simitian and staff. I've sent an extensive recommend ation on the continuance of the cold weather shelter year-round and so i'll refer only up to a couple of headlines here. First of all, thank you. Thank you for listening, thank you for partnering. Last year sunnyvale community services which is one of the emergency assistance agencies in our county served 577 homeless individuals with one or more services. That was a one-year increase for our agency of 63%. They were 7% of the 8,300 p that we helped low income. That - - we've been a partner with home first with the county. We want to continue to make the shelter an absolutely important ingredient in helping the most vulnerable, and making our community thrive. If you have any questions about what I wrote, let me know. Thank you very much. Supv simitian: thank you. And thank you for the work y do, of course. Sean, to be followed by jenny, I believe it's - - . And then jane.
11:26 AMI just wanted to actually follow up on some of what mury wrote in the letter she says that there's no storage for people's belongings. They have - - three times in the morning and three times at night, a huge storage container they can store all their stuff in so they don't have to walk round with stuff all day long. That's not true in the letter. Also in the letter, it mentioned safety. The sunnyvale shelter is one the safest places I know. You can tell that by the way people at the end of the night they put on pajamas, walking around. What my stuff is missing. So there were some things in there I thought weren't true. And also mentioned case management. They do need more case managers. They need more social workers there. That part is true. Teresa does a fabulous job, we just need to clone her. I just wanted to applaud these folks. They have organized themselves. This isn't all me. They have organized themselves. They wrote a great op-ed. They have gun done a lot of great things and deserve a lot of applause. Supv simitian: thank you very much. Jenny, to be if a follow by jane, then rose, and then I believe it is - - welcome.
11:27 AMOnce again, thank you. my statement echo a lot of everybody's -s already been saying so i'll be brief. I just wanted to add as you know one in every three days a homeless person dies and i'm glad to know that in our coun we're working to make that better. Boss of that ping churr of - - picture of homelessness is changing from blew blue collar poor one paycheck away. We continue it to be more than just an increment and make this a permanent shelter. Thank you. Supv simitian: thank you for being with us today. Jane. Welcome.
11:28 AMHi. my name is jane and thank you for having the shelter open because I don't know what my family would do without that. [ crying ] supv simitian: thank you for being with us today. Rose has passed that takes us t delina, then ruth, and then jonathan.
I just want to say thank you for allowing the sunnyvale shelter to remain open and hopefully, um, you guys can use that as a model for other shelters because i've been - - if it wasn't for myself I don't think I would have successfully, like, left the program because a lot of the case management you do you have to do it on your own. Provides a list of steps you have to do and this last was at the shelter I was wor from 7:00 a. M. To 7:00 p. M. , and they found me as a person th couldn't do the workshops and the stuff that they required me to do. I was there three weeks and kicked me out. If it wasn't for activist sean, she helped me to actually go on the news and actually get a family to take me and my daughter in. [ beep ]
11:29 AMAnd actually getting better because I had ptsd and anxiety and severe depression since a child so i'm actually being able to get better and right now i'm working and, um, my daughter h a disability so i'm also being able to get her all the servis that she needs. Supv simitian: thank you so much for being with us today. Ruth. To be followed by jonathan, ad then I believe it's ken green.
11:30 AMThank you, supervisors, and president simitian. I'm very grateful on behalf our clients. More and more of our clients are needing shelters for the unhoused. I have several clients in sunnyvale. I apologize, I know it's probably annoying that any of us are speaking, but I did want specifically say that I want to thank supervisor simitian. I know what he's done with the day workers. I'm very grateful to him for what he's done for sunnyvale. And I also want to give a shoutout to Dr. Cheryl homeless health services. She worked with one of my clients and i'm almost in tears thinking about what an advocate she was, and how she helped she helped him get services and benefits. So I think that had it non for this shelter, he wouldn't have been able to avail himself of those services and i'm reay grateful to all of you. Supv simitian: thank you and while I thank you for the ki words just want to acknowledge the work we do, we do as a board, we do as a county, and we do in partnership with a great many others to whom we say thanks as well. Jonathan.
11:31 AMThanks, everybody for being here, for your cooperation, and for keeping the shelter open. I'm in carpentry so thanks for, you know, keeping this place open and you guys help a lot families especially single folks out there in the street. Once again, thank you for your time to be here listening to what we're saying. God bless everybody. Supv simitian: thank you. Thank you for being here today. Ken green. And then i'm going to go ba see if norberto and vernucia are here. Welcome.
11:32 AMMy name is ken green. I thank you for hearing me. I just had a couple of concerns that relate to this. I totally agree with the people that have been before me standing here. I think it's a good thing toy this being extended shelter kept open to the summer. I also wanted to express my concerns and the concern of a lot of other senior citizens that we're getting over run, walked on. I work for the county. Retired from santa clara county. And only what I did was drive bus. And i'm telling you things are out of hand sometimes in this place. It's providing a real needed service, but there are problems that I feel could be easily corrected and some people that really needed some reinstruction - - . [ beep ]
11:33 AMI believe really is trying to do the right thing. I know who the lady is. But some of her employees are really rather rude and crude and that's really not necessary and really they need to insert law enforcement there because there's a few individuals that just run around and vandalize the property, vandalize the shop, - - vandalizing showers. Supv simitian: your time has elapsed if you can get one l thought.
That's it. insert law enforcement where they can try and get rid of a few more of the trouble maker ass that are still there. That is something santa clara p. D. Is aware of. It would be a big help and go long ways. Supv simitian: thank you for your comments. Let me check and see if norb or vencia are still here. I'm going to confirm with our clerk that's the last of the cards on this item and ask e board to please wrote on the keen. Before we display the item just a couple of quick, uh, commen. My intention certainly in the motion which is contained in the published agenda, Dr. Smith, was to incorporate the suggestions for longer term planning. That was indeed one of the elements. I thought that was implicit. We've had a couple of folks who have called out for that more explicitly. I think that's consistent, supervisor cortese, with our mutual intention, and I don't imagine there's any objection from the rest of the board in terms of calling out that longer term planning more explicitly as part of the motion.
11:34 AMUnder stood. supv simitian: the second thing I should say for those of us came today when I first indicated out loud that I was thinking about bringing this item to the board for a six-month extension the person I was talking to said if you do that the advocates will ho up and the city will just show up and the clients will just show up and they'll say they'll want more to which I said good thas what advocates are supposed to do. So, uh, again, welcome to your chambers. And third, and finally, I think unfortunately the peek who had the concern had to step away but with respect to applause or demonstrations of enthusiasm or opposition in the chamber, just so folks understand obviously no one's inhibited from peeking that's why we had 27 folks wh cards on this item alone. The goal is to make hour that e keep those chamber a safe space for everyone to come and offer their comments. Whether their comments are popular or not. And I know sometimes when you're on the prevailing side and there's enthusiasm and wild applause it can feel like nothing but a positive thing but it can make it very hard fr somebody who's got a different point of view to step up to the microphone. That freedom of speech that was referenced not just for popular causes but for unpopular ones a well. So if it seems like we're trying to keep a little more order it's only because we want to make hour that there is truly a safe space for every point of view that microphone. That being said, it appears on my screen that all five mem of our board have voted.

11:36 AMMembers. And that takes us to our next set of items and this is the, uh, jail reform update we have number of items this one was to be heard no earlier than 1030, and we're well within that boundary. And so, um, let me ask Dr. Smith, uh, if you want to lead us into this or if youe going to turn to your capable staff.
11:37 AMI'm looking - - .
I'm right here.
Martha. deputy county executive who's going to coordinate the next nine issues.