Google Reinvests in Santa Clara County Homelessness Prevention System
Nov 27, 2018 – Today, Google announced an additional investment of $250,000 for the Homelessness Prevention System in Santa Clara County, bringing Google’s cumulative giving to $1,250,000 since Destination: Home launched the pilot in 2017 with a consortium of community-based organizations. Specifically, the new funds from Google will help serve at least 100 families where domestic violence was a contributing factor to their risk of homelessness.
Rising rents, a lack of affordable housing, the high cost of living, and stagnant wages resulted in 4,660 families and individuals countywide entering the homeless system of care last year for the first time. While coordinated efforts helped transition 1,768 families and individuals out of homelessness and into housing during that same period, prevention efforts are vital to further reducing homelessness and preventing the trauma families and individuals experience after losing their home.
“Google values the data-informed approach of the Homelessness Prevention System, and the opportunity to measure their impact,” said Jennifer Loving, Chief Executive Officer of Destination: Home, “we are grateful for their continued partnership in ending homelessness in Santa Clara County.”
“Destination: Home is providing individuals and families with vital homelessness prevention tools,” stated Javier Gonzalez, Google’s Public Policy lead for the South Bay. “Google is proud to continue our history of support with this grant.”
In July 2017, Destination: Home initiated the Homelessness Prevention System as a pilot program with the goal of implementing and scaling a countywide prevention model and system of care that ensures homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. Both public and private funders have partnered to contribute a total of $6,057,500 toward the first two years of the program, allowing for 480 households to be served annually. Given the severity of the need and current housing crisis, efforts are currently underway for the next two years to further increase capacity and serve 900 families and individuals per year, maximizing the impact of the system and leveraging economies of scale.
Sacred Heart Community Services is the lead agency administering services, coordinating efforts with strategic partners across the county, including, Amigos de Guadalupe, Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos, Family Supportive Housing, The Law Foundation, LifeMoves, Saint Joseph’s Family Center, The Salvation Army, Sunnyvale Community Services, West Valley Community Services, school districts, and neighborhood family resource centers.
Services target the most vulnerable households: families and individuals within 14 days of losing housing, often facing eviction and a combination of critical barriers. The system aims to be proactive and responsive, and have the necessary resources and flexibility to meet the needs of households in crisis and prevent homelessness. Partner agencies have increased dedicated staff support and resources to address the needs and connect family members to support services, including rent assistance, employment services, child care, and transportation.
So far, 277 families and 94 individuals have been enrolled in the Homelessness Prevention System, with over 97% remaining stably housed while receiving services. Partner organizations spend an average of $3,723 per household to prevent homelessness. 47% of households report a change in income or expenses as the reason behind their need for assistance, the most frequent answer. The University of Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunity is independently evaluating the system’s performance and will track long-term whether families and individuals who received assistance remain housed.
Destination: Home continues to look for ways to strengthen the Homelessness Prevention System. 34% of the families and individuals enrolled in the first year of the pilot program reported experiencing domestic violence, making it one of the most significant contributing factors for being at risk of homelessness. The Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium, a group of community-based organizations in Santa Clara County with a wealth of experience and community trust in serving this vulnerable population, estimates that 2,300 victims were turned away from shelter due to lack of availability in the most recent year figures were available. Prevention services can help these victims avoid exacerbated trauma by diverting them from ever becoming homeless.
The Google contribution announced today will allow the Domestic Violence Advocacy Consortium to join the Homelessness Prevention System, bringing their specialized services to families and individuals on the verge of homelessness due to domestic violence. Funding will help the system be quick and flexible in ensuring the safety, confidentiality, and long-term stability of affected households.
View full 2018 results, partners, and more information at: https://destinationhomesv.org/homelessness-prevention
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About Destination: Home
Destination: Home is a public-private partnership that uses collective impact strategies to end homelessness in Santa Clara County.