Demolition Clears Way for New Foster Youth Community Center and Housing
The new “Hub” in San José will be an innovative model that integrates services with affordable housing for youth transitioning out of foster care
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— Demolition began this week on a large San José site, clearing the way for a new community center for foster youth that will integrate two important County goals: to provide housing for foster youth, and to connect them with critical services such as job training, education programs, and health and wellness resources. The Hub will be a one-stop shop designed by and for foster youth who are up to 24-years-old, County leaders say.
“We are starting from scratch with the new Hub and our foster youth will help design it for their specific needs. These are kids with a high level of need and very little support, which makes them vulnerable. With more resources and housing, they will feel safe and be surrounded by caring adults who can assist them with everything from college aid applications to making sure they have clean clothes,” said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
The new Hub, which is being built on 1.6 acres situated at 1510-1540 Parkmoor Avenue in San José, will replace the current youth community center at 591 N. King Road. The look and feel of the building will integrate feedback from foster youth and focus on home-like features, such as outdoor space, a garden and BBQ area for gatherings, and a children’s play area.
One of the biggest distinctions of the new center will be the addition of affordable housing, which will be built on the upper floors of the Hub. Some of the units will go to foster youth, with plans for a housing program that offers case management and subsidies for transportation, food, clothes, and utilities. When choosing the new location for the center, one of the County’s main focuses was to find a property that could accommodate housing.
“We know that having services alone is not enough, and that housing is a critical piece if we truly want to make an impact,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “We want our youth to feel valued, to be empowered to build life skills, to have access to healthcare, and, equally important, we want them to have a safe place to sleep at night.”
In Santa Clara County, about a third of the unhoused youth and young adults assessed in the past year reported they had been through the foster care system, according to data from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).
“We know, among our area’s youth, there is an overlap when it comes to homelessness and foster care,” said Consuelo Hernández, Director of the County of Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing. “The 2020-2025 Community Plan to End Homelessness calls for tailored programs to help unhoused youth and young adults. Not having a stable home is one of the biggest barriers to seeking services. When our foster youth can stop worrying about where they’ll sleep at night, they can focus on finding help to rebuild and strengthen other parts of their lives.”
When the new Hub opens in 2024, the ground floor will house services focused on self-sufficiency, including housing and education support, financial literacy, career development and job training, physical and mental health services, and social and cultural workshops. There will be access to computers and printers, assistance with scholarships and financial aid applications, shower and laundry facilities, and planned activities led by the Youth Leadership Council.
“The integration of housing into the Hub will have an enormous impact on our foster youth,” said Daniel Little, the County’s Director of the Department of Family and Children’s Services. “To have housing and services all together in a space they can feel is their own – this is critical to creating opportunities for youth to become successful, functioning adults in our community.”
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ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.