SAN JOSE – A new consortium of homeless resources – including a cold weather shelter, a kitchen for a homeless job training program, an expanded meal program, showers, and on-site case management services – has opened at Trinity United Methodist Church in Mountain View.
“Private sector, public sector, community non-profits and the faith community – everybody doing their part. We’re doing together what none of us could do alone,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “With funding from the County, City of Mountain View, and Google, and the Church as host, non-profit providers can provide shelter, serve thousands of meals, offer job-training programs, and care for homeless and low-income folks in the North County.”
With the remodeled facilities, a suite of services for Mountain View’s homeless and low-income population will be possible, including:
- A cold-weather shelter for single women and families, run by HomeFirst and funded by the County;
- A dramatically expanded meal program, run by Hope’s Corner;
- A culinary job training program using the kitchen, funded by the County;
- Facilities to offer free showers, run by Hope’s Corner;
- A Family Resource Center, operated by CHAC, providing parenting classes and educational activities for families with young children; and,
- On site case management to help people move out of homelessness, provided by the Community Services Agency.
The new facilities are made possible in part through a $1 million grant from Google, as well as funding from the County, City, and other sources. The funding helped cover the creation of a commercial grade kitchen, which allows for the expanded meal program and culinary job training program.
“As our region continues to prosper, people of modest means are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet,” said Simitian. “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% between 2015 and 2017; and food insecurity is prevalent and increasing, reaching 27% in Santa Clara County.
“Google is proud to provide funding to finally make this facility a reality,” said Google Public Affairs Manager Javier Gonzalez. “It will provide vital services to those who need them most in our community.”
Recognizing the need for additional services in Mountain View, Trinity United Methodist Church opened their space and their sanctuary to host a variety of services aimed at homeless and low-income individuals and families, while still holding regular church services. In 2017, HomeFirst began operating a cold weather shelter for single women and families with children, which is funded by the County.
The Church also houses Hope’s Corner, a non-profit which has served weekly meals and provided showers to homeless individuals at the Church for six years. Hope’s Corner currently provides free Saturday breakfasts and bag lunches, free showers on Thursdays and Saturdays, and serves approximately 200 guests each week. Those numbers will go up, however, with the enhancements to the church’s kitchen.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from our donors, the County, and the City 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. “These new facilities 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 operated by Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and First Five, providing regular parenting classes, educational activities for young children, and other services for young families in a variety of languages.
Mountain View Community Services Agency (CSA) also has case managers on site while the shelter is open, as well as every Thursday during Hope’s Corner’s shower program hours.
County funding will allow HomeFirst to continue to run the shelter, and will be used 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,” said Simitian. “These new resources bring all of those folks together, and make it easier for people to find the help they need, whatever that may be.”