VIDEO: Man says Bay Area homeless program saved his life

SAN JOSE (KRON) — In the South Bay, a partnership between the public and private sector to end homelessness is making a difference, getting people off the streets and into permanent housing.

Steve Gutierrez is a fighter. He was down, way down, but not out.

“For the last 30 years I been slammin’ heroin and doin’ dope,” Gutierrez told KRON4’s Rob Fladeboe. “I lost everything and ended up in the jungle….”

Gutierrez says he nearly died in the homeless camp known as the jungle, which is now closed. He then got into a drug treatment program and has been clean for almost three years.

He lives in a one bedroom apartment, in the Casa de Novo, or house of new beginnings.

“Abode Service got contacted, I got on the list,” Gutierrez said. “I came from the drug program. I been here three years. I got a dog. I got a new life.”

Located on The Alameda in San Jose, Casa de Novo, formerly a motel, is a partnership between Abode Services, San Jose and Santa Clara County. It’s part of a countywide effort to provide safe and stable housing to homeless people like Steve Gutierrez, who is in turn trying to help other homeless people.

“Some people want help, some don’t,” Gutierrez said. “I’m trying to help the ones who want help, I will do what i can.”

About half the rooms are dedicated to temporary or transitional housing for individuals and families, the other half, like Steve’s apartment, are permanent housing. Abode also provides Gutierrez and his neighbors with services like counseling and job training.

“I don’t have to worry about the rain or the heat,” Gutierrez said. “I’m stable. I go a tv, a place to live. Ithank god every day.”

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