SANTA CLARA COUNTY (BCN) — More than 500 veterans have found homes through a campaign initiated one year ago throughout Santa Clara County, but some are still on the streets without shelter.
Since the “All The Way Home” campaign launched last Veterans Day, 510 veterans who were once homeless have found homes, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors president Dave Cortese said during a news conference in downtown San Jose before Friday’s Veterans Day parade.
“We remain absolutely committed to ending veterans homelessness permanently here,” he said.
The supervisor spoke alongside San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to give an update on the three-year housing campaign that partners with the county, city of San Jose, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara and Destination: Home along with faith-based organizations and other community members.
Santa Clara County has established a $500,000 incentive program for landlords renting to veterans, who are finding homes despite the region’s high-occupancy rate, Cortese said.
The county has also dedicated $1.8 million in ongoing funds for supportive housing programs to help homeless veterans.
The county is also looking to address homelessness through Measure A, a $950 million housing bond presented to voters in Tuesday’s election that continues to hold its two-thirds majority edge needed to pass, Cortese said.
The measure garnered 67 percent of yes votes, according to unofficial results posted Friday morning.
In June, the San Jose City Council voted to put aside $5 million to help landlords repair their units to comply with building code and shelter veterans with federal payment vouchers.
“No one’s service is more honorable, more courageous than that of our veterans,” Liccardo said. “Let their example be an example to all of us how we can serve them.”
Last year’s homeless census identified 703 homeless veterans in the county, 63 percent of whom are without shelter, which is nearly double the national average of 36 percent, campaign director Maya Esparza said.
The number of veterans who have supportive housing vouchers but can’t find a home has gone down from 260 to 101, Esparza said.
The vouchers are provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program.
Nicolas Jaramillo, who served 12 years with the U.S. Army as a communications sergeant, is one of the campaign’s beneficiaries whose three-month search for a home ended Thursday when he received keys to his new apartment.
Jaramillo works with Goodwill Silicon Valley as a hub coordinator managing a computer room that assists veterans with resumes, applications and other documents. He also does outreach work in the community looking for veterans, one of whom he found at Friday’s Veterans Day celebration.
Veterans are tough people who tend to develop a survivor mentality and are difficult group to break through once they become homeless, Jaramillo said.