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Milpitas councilmember will snooze outside town hall tonight

On Sunday night, Milpitas councilmember Karina Dominguez used the night in her vehicle at a homeless encampment around the town library.

Tonight she pitched a tent outside city corridor to draw focus to the plight of the city’s homeless local community on the eve of a presentation by Mayor Rich Tran’s homeless job drive.

“What is it like when you are tenting out?” questioned Dominguez, who explained she predicted to be joined by about 15 other people today at town hall — some of whom are homeless.

“While there are reviews and whilst there is knowledge, one of the issues that is not uncovered are the tales of these that stay on the streets of Milpitas. And that is pretty vital if we are really heading to make investments in (the mayor’s) strategy.”

Dominguez, who has often clashed with the mayor over plan challenges, said that she’s attempting to kind out whether the mayor’s activity force has strategies that align with the priorities of individuals who are homeless in Milpitas. The councilmember mentioned she’s also tenting out to protest the mayor’s reluctance to fund a plan that assesses housing predicaments for the city’s homeless.

The mayor, nevertheless, is possessing none of it.

“Anybody can rest exterior,” mentioned Tran. “And I just don’t know if that is going to resolve homelessness in Milpitas by sleeping exterior.” He added later, “I would like that theatrical politicians out there would concentrate on building options and not making it about on their own.”

Dominguez described her initially night at an encampment close to the city’s library as an “eye-opening” expertise. The encampment, positioned on Railroad Ave., was a short while ago known as out in a Facebook write-up by the mayor — who stated he envisioned it to be cleared by March 1.

“Nobody must have to reside in those disorders,” the councilmember stated.

The councilmember isn’t the 1st neighborhood politician in the place to sleep alongside homeless inhabitants. In 2016, previous San Jose councilman Tam Nguyen put in a night time at a city-sanctioned homeless encampment in Portand, Ore. to see if it was a answer he could convey again to his household city. And in 2006, then Assembly member Sally Lieber expended a handful of days homeless in San Jose and stayed at close by shelters to greater fully grasp the working experience.

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The Milpitas councilmember’s actions occur as a broader rift kinds amongst city officials and nonprofit leaders over how to tackle an situation that has plagued many of Milpitas’ neighboring towns.

On Tuesday, Tran’s homelessness task drive will place forth a set of suggestions that include metropolis-sanctioned encampments for tents and parking for RVs, a centralized web-site and hotline to educate citizens about homelessness, as well as a career-coaching software. The job force was designed in January 2021 at the course of the mayor and 7 Milpitas people serve as members.

Milpitas Mayor Richard Tran, witnessed right here at the groundbreaking ceremony for the LEGOLAND Discovery Heart at Terrific Shopping mall in 2019. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Location Information Team) 

Robert Jung, who oversees the area nonprofit Hope for the Unhoused, is uncertain about the activity force’s suggestions.

“The policies that have been talked about at council do not actually seem to be to resolve the dilemma,” explained Jung, who says there are about 110 to 120 homeless citizens in the town. “They appear to transfer the challenge and kind of shift it from a single place to one more.”

Jung claimed that the city’s primary priority really should be having men and women off the streets, which the mayor’s plan partly addresses. But he stays unconvinced that any of the programs will be adopted by means of. He additional that past actions by the mayor, significantly his opposition in 2020 to a Challenge Homekey web-site that delivers homeless housing, has remaining him skeptical about how substantially the town is inclined to do.

The activity force’s tips arrive as the mayor has taken a additional aggressive method toward tackling homelessness, which include a proposal in January that would ban encampments near selected neighborhoods, universities and daycares. Tran also has posted regularly on his general public Facebook account about encampments in the city, which include one in front of Milpitas Unified University District that was afterwards cleared by authorities late last yr.

Extra just lately, the mayor advisable that the city slice funding for its Homeless Engagement and Evaluation Workforce, or Heat, a central place of competition concerning him and Councilmember Dominguez.

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The county-led software, which the metropolis council accredited in Nov. 2020, helps evaluate homeless residents for foreseeable future housing placement, placing people today in a queue based on rapid want. Whilst all four council customers permitted the system at a price tag of $200,000, Tran abstained at the time.

Tran says that the county should really protect the expense of the program rather of the town and has suggested that the remaining cash ought to go in direction of his undertaking force’s suggestions.

“I really don’t want to get rid of the system — I’d just rather not pay out for it,” reported Tran. “If we can get it for no cost, we can get it for no cost. I like acquiring matters for free of charge. It is like I’m at Costco, and I’m going to go for each and every no cost sample.”

According to Conseulo Hernandez, who oversees the county’s housing efforts, the county would not include the fees for the city’s Warmth method if funding is pulled and would have to commit the sources it now has in Milpitas in other places.

Dominguez and Jung assert that the application is essential in getting homeless citizens off the streets.

It just makes no reasonable sense to go backwards and pull funding for a significant software,” she mentioned.

Jung added that his nonprofit would be “significantly impacted” devoid of the program.

MILPITAS, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 28: Milpitas Councilmember Karina Dominguez speaks to the media in entrance of Milpitas Metropolis Corridor on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. She will devote the evening in a tent in front of Town Hall with supporters and several unhoused men and women. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Place News Group) 

In the meantime, Dominguez and the mayor disagree on how Tran’s undertaking power and its concepts could be funded.

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