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Developers Break Ground on New Community Center for Foster Youth in Santa Clara County

The new Hub will occupy the first floor of a five-story building at the intersection of Parkmoor and Meridian avenues in San José, with the upper floors devoted to 81 units of affordable housing

The County of Santa Clara and community partners celebrated the beginning of construction Friday of an ambitious mixed-use development that will provide a new home for the Hub, a community center for current and former foster youth, and create up to 81 units of affordable housing.

The project highlights the County’s commitment to supporting foster youth, reducing homelessness, and addressing the region’s housing affordability crisis. 

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez has worked with foster youth in the community for a decade to improve the current Hub and develop the new one. The County has a special obligation to care for foster youth, whose unlucky circumstances make them more likely to become homeless, more likely to go to jail, and less likely to finish high school than other young people, she said. 

“Every county across this country needs to learn to wrap our arms around every single child to make sure they can thrive,” Chavez said. “What the Hub’s intended to do is be that warm connection to the supplies they need for school, to a snack they need, to counseling and support. It’s a physical manifestation of love, compassion, empathy and accountability to the public that we are going to help every one of these children get across the finish line and become part of society, where they’re thriving adults.”

The Hub will occupy the first floor of a five-story building at the intersection of Parkmoor and Meridian avenues in San José. Parkmoor Community Apartments will comprise the upper floors, featuring a range of affordable rental housing units, including 40 apartments for youth who are transitioning out of foster care.

The Hub, currently located at 591 N. King Road in San José, is a community center that is operated by the County but organized and led by young people with experience in the foster care system. It provides a warm and welcoming environment for current and former foster youth between the ages of 15 and 24, along with an array of services, including mental health counseling, legal advice, career assistance, and educational support. It also provides access to computers and printers, school supplies and hygiene products, showers and laundry.

“I am incredibly proud to be part of a County that prioritizes children and youth and takes serious responsibility for those who are in our charge,” said Board President Susan Ellenberg. “It was important to us that our young people be in a place where they can access their entire community and take advantage of all of the resources that we have.”

The new 17,000-square-foot Hub will be located on 1.62 acres near public transit, San Jose City College, and downtown San José. It will truly reflect the vision and needs of the youth who use it. The County and the developer, Abode Housing, engaged in extensive outreach to the foster youth community in the planning and design phase of the project, such as hosting a five-part workshop to get the input of transition-aged foster youth on all aspects of the new facility.

“I am so ecstatic about this project,” said Dontae Lartigue, a former foster youth who has been instrumental in the vision for the new Hub. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’m just happy to know that some of my peers will get the housing that they need, and countless others will get the services they need here.”

The all-electric Parkmoor building will feature bike storage and outdoor spaces for relaxing, including a garden, barbecue area, and children’s playground. The affordable housing units will include studios and one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments.

“Combining housing with services will be incredibly beneficial for our foster youth community,” said Damion Wright, director of the County’s Department of Family & Children’s Services. “This new facility will allow the County to provide better and more comprehensive services to current and former foster youth, helping them make a successful transition into adulthood and independence.”

The Parkmoor project is one of many ways the County is working to reduce homelessness and improve services to current and former foster youth, which are closely related. Making the transition from the foster care system to young adulthood can be incredibly challenging, and many former foster youth experience homelessness. 

In 2021, the County received a $10.2 million grant to participate in a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, an initiative designed to reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness. The following year, the Board of Supervisors endorsed a Community Plan to End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness in Santa Clara County.

The County’s Office of Supportive Housing has a pipeline of affordable housing units under construction that will be designated for transition-aged foster youth. Including Parkmoor Community Apartments, there are 100 of these units in production.

“Parkmoor Community Apartments offers housing that is tailored specifically to unhoused youth and young adults,” said Consuelo Hernández, director of the Office of Supportive Housing. “Having the security and comfort of a warm, clean and safe place to live provides an essential foundation for young people who are making the daunting adjustment to adulthood.”

The County purchased the Parkmoor Avenue site for $6 million in 2017 and is funding the construction of the new Hub, which will cost $14 million. The County is contributing a $20 million loan to the construction of the Parkmoor Community Apartments, including $16 million from Measure A, the $950 million affordable housing bond approved by voters in 2016, and $4 million from No Place Like Home, a state program to build permanent supportive housing for people who need mental health services or who are experiencing homelessness. Other financial backers for the $76 million affordable housing component of the project include the City of San José.

The Board of Supervisors has allocated $684 million of the $950 million available under Measure A to 56 affordable and supportive housing developments. Nearly 1,800 affordable housing units have already been created with Measure A funds, housing approximately 3,480 people.