Proposed Temporary Housing for Families: Benton Street at Lawrence Expressway


Benton Street at Lawrence Expressway

The County of Santa Clara and LifeMoves are working to create more interim housing for unhoused people. This is a need shown in the Community Plan to End Homelessness. We propose an interim housing program for families at the corner of Benton Street and Lawrence Expressway in Santa Clara with 30 family units (90 rooms) that could house approximately 120 people. The program would also have on-site support services for the people staying there. Each person would have their own room and restroom. They could stay and be part of the community while they find long-term housing. The program would help people going through the hardest time in their lives recover from life on the streets, giving them a chance for better health and stability.

County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors Meeting

On Tuesday, June 6, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to co-sponsor an application for Homekey funding from the State of California to support the project. The report to the Board is available at this link. A summary with more details about the project is available here. For more information, see the materials from community meetings linked on this page.


LifeMoves is dedicated to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness to return to stable housing and self-sufficiency. They do this by providing interim housing, supportive services, and building collaborative partnerships.  


This site could be a great case of needs and opportunities coming together in harmony. In July 2021, the City of Santa Clara’s City Council asked the staff to find a site to house unhoused people. They wanted to apply for state funding that would be available for that use. Soon after, the 2022 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey reported that homelessness in Santa Clara increased by 35% from 2019 to 2022. Then, Santa Clara’s Homelessness Task Force reported that Santa Clara does not have enough interim housing for unhoused people. The need is clear.

Around the same time, the County’s Board of Supervisors told staff to look for County-owned land that could be used for interim housing. The site at Benton Street and Lawrence Expressway was no longer needed for its original purpose. It is close to services and public transit, good conditions for people to stay while they rebuild their lives. The Board of Supervisors also approved a challenge grant program for interim housing, and LifeMoves responded with ideas. Possible opportunities lined up to meet an identified need!

Now, it is time for our community and local governments and to see if the opportunities can work to help our unhoused neighbors.

Contact Us

If you are homeless and are want information on how to get help, please visit the Need Assistance page  for more information.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The questions below are responses to some of the most frequently asked questions about this proposed project. There were also more than 350 questions and comments proposed during the first community engagement meeting on February 13, 2023. We have posted the Q&A Responses from Meeting 1 (last updated April 25, 2023, 3:00PM (PDF)).

    Interim housing is short-term housing intervention designed to provide unsheltered individuals with private sleeping units, restrooms and showers, similar to very small studios.  Program participants typically stay in interim housing for a few months while they stabilize their lives and look for permanent housing. While living in emergency interim housing, participants recuperate from the physical and mental stress of living in “crisis mode” on the street, and they have access to supportive services that can lead to positive outcomes.

    Older shelter models included the use of large congregate shelters that serve people in one large space with shared restroom and community facilities.  Over the past five years, communities across the nation have been moving away from congregate shelter and have been exploring new non-congregate approaches to sheltering people who are homeless.  Locally in Santa Clara County this includes tiny homes like, pallet shelters like Casitas de Esperanza, Mountain View Homekey, and [insert].  This new approach of providing non-congregate shelters provides a more dignified transitional step than the traditional congregate shelter setting.  Participants have shared the benefits of having a private room with their own restroom and the amenities on site that focus on wellness and housing.

    According to the 2022 homeless census conducted in February, at least 440people are homeless in Santa Clara on any given night, including 375who have no shelter (i.e., live on the street or elsewhere outside).  People experiencing homelessness often find themselves trapped in a downward spiral. When someone falls into homelessness, it becomes harder to find a job, harder to find permanent housing, harder to stay healthy, harder to maintain relationships with family and friends, and harder to preserve mental wellness.

    According to County HMIS data from 2021, the majority (79%) of City of Santa Clara-affiliated households experiencing homelessness are households without children. The following table summarizes household types that are experiencing homelessness and who are affiliated with the City of Santa Clara:

    City of Santa Clara-Affiliated Households who Experienced Homelessness in CY 2021, by Household Type (HMIS) CY 2021

    Single Adult Households


    Families with Children under 18


    Multiple-Adult Households


    Unaccompanied Children under 18


     Service providers who were consulted for the City’s HOME ARP plan (to be posted 3/3/2023) highlighted older adults as a growing population. While gaps in housing and services for families with children were identified, the service provider community generally identified that the majority of people experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara are adults without children in their household.

    The services offered to participants are intended to address the trauma of homelessness. Participants have access to healthcare, mental health counseling, addiction treatment, job placement assistance, housing search assistance, and life skills classes such as financial literacy. Each participant is assigned a case manager who acts as an advisor and helps connect participants to these services.

    The City and the County expect the interim housing participants to be good neighbors.  The interim housing community will have 24/7 professional staffing and security. All interim housing participants and visitors check in upon arrival, and staff monitors the surrounding area for loitering.  The City and the County are committed to creating a community advisory committee (CAC) that includes neighbors who want to be involved.  CACs are vital resources that help problem solve, improve operations and neighborhood compatibility, and celebrate successes.

    The proposed interim housing community will include on-site parking for staff and participants.  The site will also include bicycle parking.  The proposal has been designed with a focus on traffic and pedestrian safety. The first draft of the proposal includes 80 parking spaces. 

    The County evaluates sites based on several factors, including lot size, accessibility for construction equipment, proximity to transit, access to utilities, access to medical services, and access to grocery stores.  In addition, County staff consider the current location of permanent interim housing options across the County and work with local jurisdictions who are interested in expanding interim housing options in their communities. 

    No.  On January 10, 2023, the City Council held a study session on homelessness response strategies. During the meeting the City Council indicated they wanted staff to work with the County to conduct community outreach and explore the potential development of interim housing at the County owned site located at Benton and Lawrence Expressway.  The project partners are currently in the middle of the community engagement phase of the project.  The purpose of this phase is to listen and learn about any community concerns or ideas that can shape the design, programming, and or operations of the proposed interim housing.  Based on the input received, LifeMoves and the Sobrato Foundation will work on adjustments to the project proposal before it is presented to the City Council and Board of Supervisors. 

    The site is zoned R1-6L Single Family and has a General Plan Land Use Designation of Very Low Density Residential. The state’s Homekey program provides funding to expand housing for persons experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. The Program is exempt from CEQA (environmental review) and state law deems Homekey funded projects consistent and in conformity with any applicable local plan, standard, or requirement, and allowed as a permitted use, within the zone in which the structure is located, and shall not be subject to a conditional use permit, discretionary permit, or to any other discretionary reviews or approvals (Health and Safety Code Chapter 6.7 50675.1.1).  Rezoning would not be required to build the proposed project.

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