Bay Area/ San Jose/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 30, 2024
Salvation Army Boosts Fight Against Homelessness with San Jose Campus Expansion and Inclusive Policy ShiftSource: Google Street View

San Jose's fight against homelessness is gaining momentum, with the Salvation Army stepping up its game in partnership with city and county leaders. Plans to bolster the organization's capabilities by expanding its Fourth Street campus were unveiled on Monday, as reported by NBC Bay Area. The site, a long-standing beacon of the Salvation Army's presence in the area since the 1880s, is set to undergo a significant transformation.

Under the new plan, the Emmanuel House, which offers sober living accommodation, will boost its capacity from 88 to 112 beds, upping the total number of beds available to over 300, a move lauded by local officials such as county Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who said that there's a "reset and sort of a makeover" in the works for the campus, according to NBC Bay Area. To mitigate displacement during the renovations, interim housing will be erected on an adjacent grass lot, which will soon be replaced by permanent units.

Current policies hinder certain demographics from accessing help at Salvation Army facilities, but that's about to change. San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan and Councilmember Omar Torres, among other city representatives, have been working with neighborhood groups to ensure an inclusive approach as we advance. As the number of homeless women with children spikes, the Salvation Army is adapting and preparing to receive women and children, a group previously excluded under their "no women policy," a crucial policy shift that will commence with the site's groundbreaking scheduled for the fall. "This spike, we’re not just seeing it on the streets but all of our school districts have seen an increase in the number of children that are being designated as homeless," Chavez told NBC Bay Area.

The social media announcement underscoring the collaborative effort, "A united force for change," was hailed by Supervisor Cindy Chavez at the recent press conference. The expansion of Emmanuel House and the introduction of new temporary housing are segments of a broader initiative to "creating spaces of safety, dignity, and opportunity for those in need," as celebrated on the Salvation Army Silicon Valley Facebook page. Elizabeth Funk, CEO of Dignity Health, asserted the importance of dignity in accommodations, stating via NBC Bay Area, "They prefer the streets to what they’re being offered," and stressing the need for private rooms, especially for those on the path to sobriety.