Santa Clara County, care providers teaming up to support homeless during pandemic

As families across the West Valley shelter in place at home to combat the spread of novel coronavirus, attention has turned to assisting the thousands of homeless individuals without access to shelter.

Working with Continuum of Care Partners, who provide services and support to those without shelter, Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose are taking a number of emergency measures to prevent COVID-19 in this particularly vulnerable community.

As of Saturday, all existing shelters are operating 24/7 instead of just at night, with an increased social distancing requirement. And seasonal shelters, which usually close around this time of year when the weather warms up and rain tapers off, are staying open through at least April 15.

Access to hand washing and sanitation options is critical to slowing the spread of the virus. To address that, restrooms at several parks in the County and in San Jose are staying open 24/7, while new hygiene facilities are now in place at 14 sites across the area. The stations have handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, portable toilets, clean water, and trash pickup.

Throughout the outbreak, efforts have been made to increase temporary shelter capacity, which the County says it is working to do at the County Fairgrounds, while the City of San Jose has taken delivery of 105 trailers from the State to temporarily house those in need.

County and City officials are also working to lease hotel and motel rooms to help house vulnerable individuals. The rooms can also be used to house those who test positive for COVID-19 but don’t need hospitalization, those who may have been exposed and need a place to safely quarantine, individuals discharged from hospitals, and other individuals in need.

As of March 26, 172 hotel rooms in the County were secured, with more in process.

To see more information about the ongoing efforts to support homeless individuals, click here.