Santa Clara to Pay to House Homeless

Rather than pay to have them on streets, it's cheaper to pay to house the homeless.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Santa Clara County has a new idea to help the homeless.

    The homeless problem isn't one that's easily fixed. But putting people in homes will require nothing but money that Santa Clara County is close to spending.

    The county is considering a plan to issue $1.2 million in vouchers to up to 100 chronically-homeless individuals sleeping in the streets in San Jose and surrounding cities, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

    If the Board of Supervisors approves the spending, anyone who's been on the street for a year or more can apply to receive up to $12,000 a year to cover a rental unit, with services like case managers and counselors paid for out of a separate fund, the newspaper reported.

    Up to 7,045 people are homeless in Santa Clara County on any given night, with 2,520 of these folks without a home for a year or more.

    It's estimated that housing someone is much cheaper than having them live on the streets: in San Francisco, a study found that each homeless person costs the city $61,000 per year -- with visits to the emergency room and police services as well as homeless outreach programs considered -- while giving a person housing and services costs a mere $16,000 a year, the newspaper reported.

    Santa Clara's program could begin as soon as April. It seems that it has widespread support.

    "It's the right thing to do, and it's fiscally responsible," Supervisor Mike Wasserman, the lone Republican on the five-member board, told the Merc. "And there's not a whole lot of things like that."