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Downtown San Jose Welcomes First 100% Homeless Housing Project

In the latest attempt to tackle the Bay Area’s growing homelessness crisis, city and county officials celebrated a milestone Monday — downtown San Jose’s first housing development dedicated exclusively to taking vulnerable residents off the streets.

Villas on the Park is set to house 83 homeless residents by October 2019. And what makes the project unique is its central location, just three blocks from City Hall and one block from St. James Park, a long-standing gathering spot for the city’s down-and-out.

As housing costs soar — the median sales price for a home in San Jose jumped from $699,000 in May 2015 to $1.07 million in May of this year, according to Zillow — low-income residents have been left behind, forced to shelter in tents, rudimentary lean-tos, cars and RVs across the Bay Area.

“This, my friends, is the solution,” San Jose Councilman Raul Peralez said Monday as he stood in front of a fenced-off lot at North Second and East Julian streets, where construction on the building’s first story already had started. “And it’s not just a temporary Band-Aid. This is the permanent solution.”

The six-story, $36.8 million project will be built as a partnership between homelessness services nonprofit PATH and San Diego-based affordable housing developer Affirmed Housing. Santa Clara County invested $7.2 million in the project, San Jose contributed $3.4 million, and the rest of the funds came from the California Community Reinvestment Corp. and Bank of America, via low-income housing tax credits.

Villas on the Park is only the second permanent supportive housing project in San Jose, Peralez said. Second Street Studios broke ground last year at South Second and Keyes streets.

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