Emergency aid from West Valley Community Services.

Low income and homeless families can turn to West Valley Community Services for help and advice. The non-profit provides assistance across Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Saratoga and West San Jose, as well as the surrounding mountain regions. The non-profit addresses basic needs, such as shelter and food. In addition, there may be cases in which West Valley Community Services has emergency financial aid for paying rent or other costs, such as utilities.

The WVCS programs, such as low income housing and holiday assistance, are eligible to residents of the organization’s service territory only that can prove their income and need. They also need proof of all household members, copies of a California driver’s license, expenses, and any other information that is requested.

Homeless, the recently evicted, single parents and also chronically homeless individuals and families can turn to the Haven to Home program for help. This resource from West Valley Community Services offers supportive services and stable housing to individuals. So clients will work with a case manager to access the resources and gain stability.

In addition, Haven to Home clients also receive assistance in obtaining permanent affordable housing and employment in the community. This can include help in locating an affordable apartment in Santa Clara and maybe grants to pay a rental deposit on it.

WVCS operates a transitional housing program in the county as well. It will offer further support to the homeless population. Along with the temporary housing units available, this program provides case management, budget coaching and assistance to enable clients to secure a permanent home. Furthermore, the organization owns and operates the Vista Village apartment complex to provide housing to low-income households.

The agency administers this below market rate program on behalf of the City of Cupertino. Low-income families as well as the working poor in the county can rent or own housing at an affordable rate through the BMR program. So families will still need to pay a portion of their income towards the rent. Eligibility is determined by the most recently published Housing and Community Development (HCD) income limits per household size.




Moreover, WVCS manages the BMR home sales program. A limited number of houses in Cupertino California are made available for sale each year, and these homes are intended for qualified median and moderate-income families in the region.

This is very limited, and program eligibility is based upon the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) national median income standards and family size. The agency also keeps a record of available BMR homes for potential homebuyers, and this list is prioritized according to Cupertino’s lottery system.

The organization oversees an emergency financial assistance service to support clients in urgent need with expenses such as rent or energy bills. This one-time service, which is very limited as it relies on money raised from the community, can help prevent evictions and utility cutoffs in Santa Clara County. Aid provided through this program can also be used for transportation, clothing and other basic needs.

Stabilization for individuals, senior citizens and families are available via the comprehensive emergency assistance program. This also helps guide clients toward self-sufficiency so the cause of the crisis is solved.

Clients can supplement their nutritional needs and reduce monthly grocery bills by making use of the agency’s free food pantry. It may have baby formula, rice, beans, holiday meals, and canned and dried goods are among the products available at the food pantry. Donations from charities are used to stock the facility.

WVCS also operates a mobile pantry to provide healthy food, case management and referrals to clients who lack transportation, such as the homebound. This operates in parts of Santa Clara County.





Individuals and families can learn about government aid. Options include the SSI - Supplemental Security Income program, Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSID) program, CalFresh food stamps, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and CalWorks services. So the very low income can apply for these and other government benefits through the Community Access to Resource and Education program.

The advice they give in applying for public assistance programs can make such services more accessible to those that need help. West Valley Community Services helps clients quickly and easily apply for free or reduced lunches, Medicare, food stamps, Medicaid and other services.

The agency also offers free workshops to help individuals make sound financial and legal decisions. Topics include credit, debt reduction, spending and saving priorities, budgeting and dealing with predatory lenders. Information regarding counseling services and legal consultation is also available. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), meanwhile, provides support as clients prepare their tax returns.

WVCS helps needy families prepare for special events and holidays as well, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. The agency provides free food baskets, toys, gifts, and meals for Thanksgiving and the holidays, as well as assistance for back-to-school necessities. Adopt-a-family programs are available during the Christmas holiday season.

The organization is located at 10104 Vista Drive, Cupertino, California 95014 and can be reached by phone at (408) 255-8033. Staff from West Valley Community Services will work with the client to provide a solution.



By Jon McNamara

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