Santa Clara County has secured an $11.1 million grant to address homelessness in San Jose and throughout the county, federal housing officials announced.

The county is one of 62 communities receiving their share of $486 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department is also allowing 139 public housing authorities that partner with grantees to accept 3,300 vouchers that will help house people experiencing homelessness.

“These grants and vouchers represent a first-of-its-kind set of resources that combines housing and supportive services to help people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered and rural settings,” said HUD’s Region IX Administrator Jason Pu, who attended a news conference alongside county officials on Monday.

The investment is a reflection of the Biden Administration’s goal to reduce homelessness by 25 percent by 2025. The Administration’s HOME Investment Partnership previously handed out $5 billion in grants for low-income housing, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided nearly 70,000 emergency housing vouchers for people facing home instability.

“Housing with supportive services is what solves homelessness, but people in unsheltered settings and in rural areas have not had access to those solutions,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The combination of these grants and vouchers will help and give these communities tools they need to help people who are living on the streets, in encampments, under bridges, or in rural areas obtain permanent housing.”

Tools for the most vulnerable

County officials said the funds build on the local effort to provide tools for people experiencing homelessness without criminalizing them.

“The Santa Clara County Housing Authority is committed to being a collaborative partner that creates compassionate and creative opportunities in our approach to solving homelessness in Santa Clara County,” said Santa Clara County Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince. “This is a complicated, comprehensive issue that cannot be done without partnership. As a housing authority, our MTW [Moving to Work] status allows for flexibility with our funding and program rules so, with our partners, these vouchers will support the most vulnerable throughout the community.”

The county said it will use the funds to transition people from unsheltered settings and interim housing to permanent housing through rental assistance, outreach and case management.

“Just as the homeless crisis we are facing statewide isn’t simple, our solutions cannot be either,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor and Board President Susan Ellenberg. “Our Office of Supportive Housing is a model for how we can use every available tool to assist individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness in our communities.”

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said he is grateful for the federal government’s support in addressing the homeless crisis.

“Unsheltered homelessness has a devastating impact on our entire community, and addressing the crisis playing out on our streets requires us to work together,” Mahan said.