NO BRIDGE HOUSING COMMUNITY IN THOUSAND OAKS
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The City of San Jose is working to install a Bridge Housing Community for the homeless on the natural land directly across from Thousand Oaks Park on Thousand Oaks Drive between Hampshire Place and Wellington Square. This will include up to 50 “tiny home” pods along with public shower and restroom facilities.
Thousand Oaks Park is the heart of our neighborhood. It’s where our popular Fourth of July Parade takes place and where many neighbors gather to enjoy the playground, play fetch with their dogs, and fly kites with their children.
The residents of the Thousand Oaks neighborhood and surrounding community feel very strongly that this is not the right place for a BHC development and intensely urge our city representatives to find another more suitable location.
- Thousand Oaks is a residential community of single-family tract homes. A BHC does not match the look and feel of our neighborhood. These structures are more suited to a mixed-use area that includes a variety of structures.
- This parcel is located adjacent to a FEMA flood zone and within a zone where FEMA states “flood hazards are undetermined, but possible.” To house the homeless here puts at-risk individuals in even greater danger. The City should be especially cognizant of flood concerns given the devastating Coyote Creek floods earlier this year.
- This land is currently a natural space that is home to native wildlife, including red-tailed hawks. Clearing the vegetation would displace these animals and end the lives of trees that are thought to be more than 200 years old.
- This proposed development is just steps away from a public park and playground and half a mile from our neighborhood elementary school. We are concerned that a BHC could attract a population involved in dangerous activities beyond the individuals housed at the facility, which could put our family-oriented community at risk. In San Jose’s own 2017 Homeless Census, nearly half of those surveyed self-reported as drug and alcohol abusers. More than a quarter reported that they had spent at least one night in jail or prison in the past 12 months.
- Because of the Shelter Crisis Act recently signed by the Governor, San Jose does not need to comply with any state or local building, housing, health, habitability or safety standards or laws when building BHCs. Again, this is troubling given the location’s proximity to a park, school, and homes.
- In the past, this parcel was deemed unsuitable for uses such as a community garden and sports courts. Why it is suddenly considered suitable for habitation is perplexing to many neighbors.
- Realtor.com suggests that having a homeless shelter in your zip code decreases property value by 12 percent. Installing a homeless BHC smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood is unprecedented and could have distressing affects on our property values. While we are empathetic to the growing needs of the homeless population that is struggling to afford housing, we hope our City representatives will respect that the Thousand Oaks community is a middle-class community of individuals who work very hard to afford our homes. It would be unjust to adversely influence the equity in our homes, the impact of which could be catastrophic for some in our own community who are struggling to keep their homes here.
The City has not been forthcoming about plans for this proposed BHC development. Our community was made aware of it because a targeted email was forwarded and then posted on our Nextdoor website.
According to a City memorandum, possible BHC locations in each district were considered at a recent meeting. Our district, 9, was the only district where only one potential site was identified. Other districts had as many as 40. This is concerning and calls into question whether those assigned this task did their due diligence to identify more appropriate areas in our district.
Our City Councilperson has met his term limit and is running for County Supervisor in a district that does not encompass Thousand Oaks. The District 9 seat on the Housing & Community Development Commission has been vacant. We are worried that our neighborhood has no representation with a stake in this discussion. Decisions are being made without any input from the community it impacts the most.
We are asking Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilman Donald Rocha, The San Jose Department of Housing, and the San Jose Housing & Community Development Commission to cease any further consideration of the Thousand Oaks site as part of the BHC program. It is clearly an inappropriate location for this type of development.
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