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Housing programs from HomeFirst.

There are several different non-profits and government agencies in San Jose that work together to address a number of housing needs. Some of the resources from HomeFirst include security deposit assistance as part of HSP, homeless outreach, low income apartments, emergency rent help (including for veterans) and many others. More details on these San Jose California solutions, and other housing programs, are noted below.

HomeFirst and the City of San Jose worked together to create Housing Services Partnership, or HSP. Help is offered for the currently homeless that are willing, and in position to, move into new housing. Assistance includes free bus fare, housing search assistance, and grants to pay security deposits.

For income qualified individuals and families that have located housing in the City of San Jose, the non-profit will offer one time rental deposit assistance. If you need transportation to that new home, this is when a bus ticket or voucher is issued. Applicants need to attend HomeFirst Personal Budgeting workshops and need to pay the rent going forward on their new apartment.

The Boccardo Reception Center is the place to turn to in order to apply for these programs. The address is 2011 Little Orchard Street, San Jose 95125. Call HomeFirst at 408-539-2100.

Direct homeless assistance is arranged by the Downtown Street Outreach and Engagement Program. A hotline is set up that will enable clients to find resources. This can include free food, shelter, information on low income housing, and self-sufficiency resources. The goal of any outreach is to eventually help the homeless locate permanent housing and achieve stability. 408.510.7600.

The San Jose Outreach Team can provide other help as well. This can include free clothing, food, or personal hygiene items. Other services include help for obtaining identification, transportation, and referrals to various Santa Clara county resources. Benefits can include medical services, access to shelters, housing search assistance, and applications for state benefits such as SNAP food stamps.

Case management is offered during these outreach sessions. This will touch on employment and job search assistance. There will be classes on budgeting and credit repair. The Outreach Team can help the homeless get on the path to long term stability. Many of the resources, including financial aid, is offered in partnership with others such as Catholic Charities, Momentum Mental Health, Downtown Streets Team, and the county of Santa Clara.




Cold Weather Shelters are open in the city of San Jose by HomeFirst and its partners. They include the BRC Shelter as well as National Guard Armories in Gilroy and Sunnyvale. Not only do they have a place to stay, but the Outreach Centers offer connections to the One-Stop Homeless Prevention Center. Resources offered at the sites include:

  • Medical Care - A community clinic provides medication monitoring, basic screening, assessment, primary care, immunizations, dental care, routine acute care, and referral follow-up.
  • Free meals are served at the Boccardo Reception Center as well as Armory shelters.
  • Information, Assessment and Referral to longer term solutions, programs to pay the deposit on a new home, and government aid.

The locations of the cold weather shelters are as follows.

  • Boccardo Reception Center (BRC), 2011 Little Orchard, San Jose, 95125, phone 408-510-7502
  • Gilroy National Guard Armory, 8490 Wren Avenue Gilroy, 95020, 712-0453
  • Sunnyvale National Guard Armory, 620 E. Maude Sunnyvale, 94086, call 408-739-6980

Case Management is for shelter guests. The support is for chronically and long term homeless residents of San Jose. Assistance will help them improve their self-sufficiency and find low income apartments and housing. They also work closely with the Housing 1000 Care Coordination Project. As part of Case Management, HomeFirst staff partner with clients on increasing self-sufficiency, reducing dependence on public assistance, and also addressing housing stability.

RISE, or Raising Income through Scholarship and Education, is for homeless families that have children. The city and its non-profit partners will offer subsidized housing and educational scholarships. It is offered at the Sobrato Family Living Center and is available across Santa Clara County California.

Parents that are in job training, school, or working will get help with life skills, financial management, education, and assistance for a number of housing issues. The goal of RISE is to end homelessness for future generations and break the cycle of poverty. Note there is often a waiting list maintained by HomeFirst. For more information, the office is at Sobrato Family Living Center, 1509 Agnew Road, Santa Clara, CA95054. Call (408) 855-8506.





Transitional housing - Boccardo Family Living Center is available in Santa Clara County and also San Martin. BFLC provides a place to stay as well as case management so the homeless can work toward goals of permanent housing and improved self-sufficiency. Other resources include children's tutoring, cold weather shelter for families, as well as a seasonal migrant farm worker housing solution. Reduced rent will be due from people staying at the Boccardo Family Living Center.

Veterans can use this site as well, and apartments are set aside for their needs. They can even get access to services such as on-site medical care from a Mobile Van, and benefit services from VA Outreach. The goal again is on stability, employment, and self-sufficiency.

Eight Trees Apartments is a low income housing unit that is based in Sunnyvale. It focuses on senior citizens, families with children, the disabled, and others.

Former members of the military and veterans also have access to an Emergency Shelter as well, known as V.E.S.P. The goal is to connect Veteran clients to support services, on-site care, and case management to successfully transition them to more stable living conditions.

Assistance for veterans (and their families) in San Jose includes household management, credit education, low income housing, and employment support. There are several career focused services, such as employment and vocational training, referrals to Goodwill Industries resources and more.

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is available in San Jose. It can help clients find, secure, and pay the rent on housing. It is only available for members of the armed forces and Veterans. It is an option for the homeless as well as those that are facing eviction. There is short term financial aid, funds for security deposits, and more. In some cases, the government may use a no interest loan for these various housing expenses.

Additional resources from SSVF include utility bill fee payment assistance, guidance on applying for VA benefits, Case Management Services, Transportation, and affordable child care.

Other programs include Benefit Services from the County of Santa Clara Office of Veteran Affairs as well as VA Outreach Workers. They can get help in applying for health care and social services, mainstream benefits, job training, employment search, and other applicable activities.




There is also transportation assistance through the Boccardo Reception Center as well as free meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Transitional housing and also the continuum of care are offered.

A One-Stop Center is operated by Boccardo Reception Center for veterans as well. It offers referrals and access to stable housing as well as community support services. This can include funds to pay rent or a security deposit.

Other services from HomeFirst include counseling, Computer and Internet access, health care, compensation disability & pension services, Minor dental work and connection to mainstream benefits. This, and more, is available in partnership with the VA of Palo Alto as well as other charities and non-profits in Santa Clara

Home first is located at 507 Valley Way in Milpitas, CA 95035. While many numbers are listed above, another phone number is 408-539-2100.


By Jon McNamara

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