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VTA Recognizes Community Partner HomeFirst

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VTA remains committed to pursuing valued partnerships that enhance quality of life in Santa Clara County. At the November 1 VTA Board of Directors meeting, HomeFirst will be awarded Community Partnership Recognition.

HomeFirst is a leading provider of case management and housing opportunities to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in Santa Clara County. The agency operates housing and shelter sites across Santa Clara County. They serve approximately 5,000 chronically homeless individuals, families with children, veterans, and youth each year.

The nonprofit organization, contracted by the City of San Jose, also helps address community and safety concerns related to homeless encampments on VTA-owned property. HomeFirst operates outreach teams that are dispatched to encampments on VTA property after a concern has been reported or before a site cleanup. HomeFirst’s goal is to provide assistance to homeless individuals who are looking for support services. Their team helps these individuals find emergency shelter, showers, laundry, meals, medical services, case management, employment training and more. This role is crucial in encouraging people to find permanent housing, rather than starting a new encampment or returning to an old one. 

In January 2017 alone, of the 7,398 homeless counted by HomeFirst across Santa Clara County, 26 percent were considered chronically homeless, which is defined as long sustained or multiple periods of homelessness. The remaining 74 percent found themselves homeless due to circumstances like job loss or financial catastrophe, which often wipe out an individual’s savings.

“We are honored to be recognized and proud of our partnership with VTA to combat homelessness,” said HomeFirst CEO Andrea Urton. “It’s vitally important that we, as a community, rise above the perception that homelessness is an issue just facing those with addiction or mental health issues. Many hard working people living in Silicon Valley are often one car payment or one house payment away from losing both,” said Urton. 

VTA will recognize HomeFirst on Thursday, November 1 at the VTA Board of Directors meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the County Government Center in San Jose.
 
 
 

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