San Jose’s Bold Move: Embracing Emergency Interim Housing


The City of San Jose took a groundbreaking step in October when the City Council unanimously passed a declaration to expand Emergency Interim Shelters (EIH). The city’s policy stems from the recommendations from the Emergency Interim Housing Report, a testament to the city’s commitment to innovative solutions in addressing homelessness. The report, prepared by Homebase with the support of the Partnership for the Bay’s Future, shines a light on the promising practices that can significantly improve the lives of our community members facing homelessness. 

Building Stability and Community

EIH offers more than just temporary shelter, it provides a sense of security and dignity that is often compromised in traditional congregate shelters. The report reveals that residents in San Jose’s EIH sites have experienced a remarkable 48% success rate in transitioning to permanent housing, a figure that speaks volumes about the efficacy of these programs.

EIH in San Jose fosters community, ensures stability and offers hope. This bold move underscores the urgency of the housing crisis and safeguards the well-being of our community members.

The report underscores the importance of personalized case management and the provision of private spaces that allow residents to lock their doors, which has been instrumental in helping them regain normalcy and stability. It also highlights the need for intentional program durations and manageable staff caseloads, particularly for individuals with higher acuity needs who require more time and resources to stabilize and secure permanent housing. 

Moreover, the report advocates for the creation of specialized EIH programs that cater to specific subpopulations, including those with chronic homelessness, families, survivors of violence, seniors, and individuals with significant health conditions. It points out the profound impact of culturally specific communities that promote a sense of belonging and safety, ultimately leading to more effective service provision and better outcomes. 

Beyond constructing housing, expanding EIH in San Jose fosters community, ensures stability and offers hope. This is a bold move that underscores the urgency of the housing crisis and safeguards the well-being of our community members. 

Addressing the Complexity of Homelessness

As we celebrate this win, we must also acknowledge the road ahead. The challenge of homelessness is complex and multifaceted, requiring sustained effort and innovation. It demands we delve into the root causes of homelessness, such as systemic and structural racism and lack of affordable housing. At the same time, we must invest in the preservation and production of affordable homes as well as protect tenants from displacement that contributes to the cycle of homelessness. We must advocate for policies that not only provide a safety net for those on the brink of homelessness, but also empower them through access to resources and support systems that promote long-term stability.

This moment serves as a testament to what can be achieved when local governments, advocates and community stakeholders come together to advance solutions. The Partnership for the Bay’s Future is committed to continuing our support for such critical work. We believe in the power of collaboration and the importance of evidence-based strategies to create lasting change. The success in San Jose is an illustration of what is possible when we harness our collective resources and resolve. Let’s continue to advocate, innovate, and advance equitable solutions that will lead to a future where homelessness is not a crisis but a challenge of the past that we have overcome. 

Looking to bring EIH to your community? Download the Emergency Interim Housing Report