Grants help fund Mtn. View homeless resource consortium

Courtesy of Sanjay Dave
Local leaders gather to celebrate the Hope’s Corner donations. Pictured from left are: Maddie Pascua, Community Health Awareness Council; Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel; Kathi McShane, pastor, Los Altos United Methodist Church; Siteri Maravou, Trinity United Methodist Church; Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian; Mountain View City Council members John McAlister and Margaret Abe-Koga; Javier Gonzalez of Google; and Leslie Carmichael, president of Hope’s Corner.

Local leaders announced a $1 million grant from Google Inc., last week, money that allows for a consortium of homeless resources housed at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mountain View to move forward. The grant will supplement another $1 million in funding from the county and other sources.

The money will fund services that include a shelter, a kitchen and onsite case management.

“This really is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Joe Simitian, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

According to Simitian, the public and private sectors, nonprofit organizations and the faith community came together to do “what none of us could do alone.”

“Google is proud to provide funding to finally make this facility a reality,” said Javier Gonzalez, Google public affairs manager. “It will provide vital services to those who need them most in our community.”

Consolidating resources

The remodeled facilities will feature a suite of services for Mountain View’s homeless and low-income population, including:

• A cold-weather shelter for single women and families, run by HomeFirst and funded by the county

• An expanded meal program, run by Hope’s Corner

• A culinary job-training program

• Onsite case management to help people move out of homelessness

• Showers

• A Family Resource Center, operated by the Community Health Awareness Council, providing parenting classes and educational activities for families with young children

“As our region continues to prosper, people of modest means are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet,” Simitian said. “Having a single location where folks can get a meal, find a warm place to lay their heads and get job training will be a true game changer.”

Simitian noted that homelessness is up dramatically in the county. In Mountain View, homelessness increased 51 percent between 2015 and 2017, he said, and food insecurity is prevalent and increasing, reaching 27 percent in Santa Clara County.

Recognizing the need for additional services in Mountain View, Trinity United Methodist Church opened its space to host a variety of services aimed at homeless and low-income individuals and families. HomeFirst began operating a cold-weather shelter on the site last winter.

The church also houses Hope’s Corner, a nonprofit organization that has served weekly meals and provided showers to homeless individuals for the past six years. Hope’s Corner currently provides free Saturday breakfasts and bag lunches, as well as free showers on Thursdays and Saturdays, serving approximately 200 guests each week.

The number served will likely increase as the consortium launches.

“We are grateful for the support we have received from our donors, the county, the city and now Google to be able to improve the services we have been providing to the most vulnerable in our community,” said Leslie Carmichael, president of Hope’s Corner. “This gift will enable us to improve our meal and shower programs and expand our collaborations with other organizations to reach even deeper into the community.”

Trinity United Methodist Church also hosts a Family Resource Center and First 5, providing regular parenting classes, educational activities for children and other services for young families in a variety of languages.

Mountain View’s Community Services Agency has case managers onsite every Thursday during Hope’s Corner’s shower program hours.

“The city is pleased to play a modest part in the network of organizations helping to make these services available to our community,” said Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel. “We are grateful to all the partners that have come together to make this groundbreaking a reality.”

The county has already approved funding for HomeFirst to continue to run the shelter, and for Downtown Streets Team to run the job-training program.

“We’ve got an incredible community of people here, all doing their part to help people in need and address the issue of homelessness,” Simitian said. “This new resource center will help bring all of those folks together, and make it easier for people to find the help they need, whatever that may be.”

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