Update: The Santa Clara County leader is prioritizing mental illness treatment and child care

Santa Clara County is coping with unaffordable housing, inaccessible little one care, homelessness, and a psychological well being disaster. A pacesetter desires to construct alliances to unravel the area’s most urgent issues.

Superintendent Susan Ellenberg described her “Constructing Collectively” agenda Tuesday in her first state of the county tackle as chair of the Board of Supervisors. She burdened the significance of constructing belief with the general public by means of transparency, accountability and accessibility.

“Whereas[the issues]should not distinctive, they’re daunting,” Ellenberg stated. “However I do not really feel defeated, and you do not have to be. As a result of collectively, we are able to discover options that not solely mitigate these challenges, but additionally uplift our communities.”

Superintendent Susan Ellenberg is sworn in to her second time period on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Picture by Tran Nguyen.

As one of many coverage makers who introduced A Psychological well being emergencies In Santa Clara County final January, Ellenberg, 56, stated addressing the psychological well being and substance abuse disaster stays her high precedence. She joined supervisor otto lee final 12 months at Sound the alarmciting document will increase in suicides and drug overdoses, inadequate variety of beds in therapy services and Overuse of prisons As a “final resort” for these in want of therapy.

She stated she would proceed to push for extra sources and construct the workforce to satisfy the area’s calls for. The province goals so as to add 500 behavioral well being therapy beds by 2025, with 40 at present in operation and one other 50 set to come back on-line inside just a few months.

“Psychological well being points and substance use dysfunction ought to be handled synonymously, from a therapy perspective, not by means of a punitive method,” Ellenberg stated.

The county has made some progress up to now 12 months. This previous February, the county launched the Assisted Outpatient Therapy Program, referred to as Laura Legislation. As applied 988, a Hotline for suicide and the psychological well being disaster. some nonetheless skeptical of this system’s effectivenessin keeping with scarcity of employees, for extended intervals and police-only responses to critical psychological well being crises. interrupt too Dedicated to spending tens of millions of {dollars} earlier this 12 months to proceed a number of short-term psychological well being packages and spend money on the county’s workforce.

Dave Mineta, President and CEO of Psychological Well being Service Supplier Momentum for Well beingHe stated that Ellenberg’s method would assist the county and native organizations work higher collectively.

“The collaboration between the county and its group companions is essential,” Mineta informed the San José Highlight. “We want a consensus in order that we are able to assist these in our group who’re dealing with psychological and behavioral well being challenges.”

Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg delivers her speech as chair of the board. Picture by Tran Nguyen.

Broaden little one care companies

Ellenberg additionally pledged to advocate for efforts to make childcare extra accessible and inexpensive within the county, citing the monetary burden related to such companies.

“We have to cease considering so narrowly about little one care as whether it is only a problem and accountability of a person dad or mum,” she informed San José Highlight. “We have to perceive that[universal child care]is an financial anti-poverty and employment-promoting instrument with critical penalties.”

In line with a 2022 Joint Enterprise Silicon Valley examine, Virtually half of all youngsters Throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties reside in households struggling to afford fundamental wants.

Ellenberg has been lobbying to maintain the services upgraded and to rent extra employees to enhance the issue. Her workplace funded one other examine final 12 months displaying that all-day childcare companies may assist practically 30,000 folks, or 7,000 households, enhance their high quality of life.

Santa Clara County resident Chris Leung stated she was impressed with Ellenberg’s dedication to creating childcare extra accessible.

“They appear to have the ability to get entry to different folks working collectively,” Leung informed San José Highlight. “It is good that it is centered on youngsters, however I hope there will even be packages for (aged) residents like myself.”

For residents Julie Krigel and Julie Stover, Ellenberg’s dedication to youngsters and households is the spotlight of her work. Krigel is Ellenberg’s cousin. The couple works at ArtHouse Studio, a non-profit group that helps college students interact in artwork.

“Susan cares deeply concerning the youngsters in our group,” Stauffer informed the San Jose Highlight. “I’ve achieved rather a lot to get funding and construct packages that[wouldn’t have happened].”

Addressing homelessness and housing

Ellenberg stated the county will proceed its work addressing homelessness and constructing inexpensive housing. The realm has seen an explosion within the homeless inhabitants up to now decade, with a complete of Greater than 10,000 folks As of final 12 months. Beneath the management of Ellenberg and Superintendent Cindy Chavez, the boycott marketing campaign focused homeless households referred to as Head house Helped 937 households off the streets.

To handle this difficulty, county officers have allotted $812.7 million of the $950 million Measurement A Fund to assist fund inexpensive housing throughout the South Bay. As of November, the county’s Measure A funds have produced 1,186 houses serving 2,508 folks. About 1,000 houses are slated for completion by subsequent 12 months, and greater than 2,600 are within the pipeline.

Jane Loving, CEO of Vacation spot: Residence, stated she’s assured Ellenberg can convey extra housing and sources to the county.

“With out the county’s management over the previous 5 years, there could be completely no means we may get 20,000 folks off the streets,[but]we nonetheless must develop,” Loving informed the San Jose Highlight. Superintendent Ellenberg understands the foundation causes of homelessness. I could not be extra excited to be driving it.”

It is smart for Ellenberg to give attention to a number of huge points, stated Jim Reed, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan’s chief of employees.

“I believed that was an ideal speech,” Reed informed Jose Highlight. ‘The province is not going to be bored subsequent 12 months.’

Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or proceed @tweet on Twitter.

Editor’s be aware: Jane Loving, CEO of Vacation spot: Residence, sits on the San José Highlight Board of Administrators.

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