SAN JOSE — As a series of community leaders spoke Tuesday about the startling half-billion expense of homelessness in Santa Clara County annually, two people sitting in the audience knew first-hand about the toll of living on the streets.
And for the pair, the cost of being homeless isn’t just a number.
Chris Hernandez, 38, sat in a wheelchair because his left leg was amputated due to untreated diabetes while he was living along Coyote Creek. Saline Chandler, 21, is on track to graduate from San Jose State next year despite intermittent bouts of homelessness that included living in her car.
Today, each has housing. And both are examples, according to the new study, of how taxpayer money will be saved in the long run if Silicon Valley does a better job of helping place the persistent homeless in stable, affordable housing.
“Getting people into homes is really the only solution to ending homelessness,” said Chandler, a sociology major. “It just makes sense, doesn’t it?”