Housing Families Quickly in the High-Cost Silicon Valley Market

In September 2014, the County of Santa Clara received state funding to re-house families who were actively participating in employment activities through the state’s CalWORKs program but who did not have a place to live.

The instability caused by homelessness made it difficult for these families to secure work, and the booming real estate market in the heart of Silicon Valley made it even more difficult for them to find affordable homes. The county understood these dynamics and began a search for an organization that could quickly build a program to help these families move into homes they could afford.

Abode Services was ready for the challenge. We had staff in place and a keen knowledge of the real estate market because of our work administering Santa Clara County’s rental assistance program (RAP), which in FY2014 was helping ensure 272 individuals had a place to live.

We became the administrator of the county’s RAP program in 2012, and our leadership proved that Abode Services could quickly house vulnerable people and help them become self-sufficient.

Based on this success, the county sought our help with the new state program, and within a month of taking on the new role, we had families signing leases to move into their own homes.

Abode Services relied on our knowledge of the local affordable housing market and longstanding relationships with property owners to quickly build a program for vulnerable families. Our experience providing services to families, along with partnerships with fellow nonprofits, allowed us to integrate life skills training and other services into the program, such as childcare, credit counseling, and behavioral health services. In the first year of the program, 61 families were able to secure employment.

Finding a job was not the only objective. Our staff developed housing stability plans for each family, which helped create a framework for them to work towards self-sufficiency. Plans included the family’s potential barriers to housing stability and identified ways the family could address those needs.

In just eight months, Abode Services helped 74 families find new homes.

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