EHC LifeBuilders held a memorial Dec. 14 for the 39 homeless men and women who died while living on the streets in Silicon Valley in 2012. The deceased, who ranged in age from 23 to 81 years old, passed away from a variety of causes, including untreated illness, exposure to the cold, violence and injury.
The number of deaths represents a significant decrease compared to previous years, with 61 deaths in 2011 and 51 deaths in 2010. EHC LifeBuilders, a Santa Clara County provider of shelter and support services for people in crisis, credits the reduction to fundamental changes in the way services for the homeless are allocated.
The movement embraces the “Housing First” model, according to EHC officials, which expands permanent housing and resources to move the homeless more quickly from the streets into safe, stable living conditions.
“We are pleased by the significant reduction in deaths this year but recognize there is still much work to do,” said EHC’s Jennifer Van Every. “Any homeless death on the streets of Silicon Valley is completely unacceptable.”
Despite helping larger numbers of people living on the streets, the need for basic, immediate services remains.
The EHC-run shelter at Sunnyvale’s National Guard Armory, 620 East Maude Ave., offers 125 beds on a first-come, first-serve basis. It opens at 6 p.m. and closes at 6 a.m. daily and accommodates adult men and women.
Los Altos resident Sandy Goldstein’s “One Warm Scarf” campaign collects used scarves, hats, gloves and booties and delivers them to the armory to help the homeless combat the winter chill.
She also collects yarn to give to knitting clubs, which make scarves, hats and gloves.
“Another request for yarn would be appreciated,” Goldstein said. “My supply has dwindled. Of course, we would also appreciate more warm scarves, hats and booties – the project is ongoing.”
Goldstein took note of the recent EHC memorial service and the number of homeless deaths.
“It makes the project all the more important,” she said.
Deliver yarn and warm scarves to the Los Altos Senior Center at 97 Hillview Ave., the Mountain View Senior Center at 266 Escuela Ave. or Goldstein’s home at 2270 Sierra Ventura Drive in Los Altos.
For more information on “One Warm Scarf,” call Goldstein at 968-2751. For more information on EHC LifeBuilders or to make a donation, visit www.ehclifebuilders.org or call (408) 539-2103.